Ged Flynn, Chief Executive of PAPYRUS.

This press release was issued by PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide on 08 May 2024.

The national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide has launched a new service to spread a message of hope among the Deaf community.

The charity’s HOPELINE247 service, which offers professional round-the-clock help to young people who are struggling with life and anyone who is concerned about someone who may be having thoughts of suicide, is now offering support in British Sign Language (BSL).

The extension to PAPYRUS’ trusted services will help Deaf and hard of hearing individuals who often find it difficult to access basic services for their mental health.

The charity says it is proud to be collaborating with the nationwide company Sign Solutions to deliver BSL translation as part of its confidential HOPELINE247 service.

Stu Chaplin, Chief Operating Officer at PAPYRUS, said: “We know how difficult it can be to start a conversation around suicide, and especially so for those who, until now, have been unable to access vital suicide prevention services.

“Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK, and through this service, we are removing the barriers for the Deaf community to access the life-saving suicide prevention support that they need and deserve.”

It is estimated that there are more than 151,000 Deaf people in the UK who use BSL as their preferred means of communication.

Sign Solutions provides on-demand and around-the-clock interpreting, training and translation services, enabling Deaf people to communicate more effectively and gain equal access to information, products, services, education and work.

Sign Solutions provides a Video Relay Service (VRS) called InterpretersLive! This enables Deaf people to access on-demand and pre-booked, qualified BSL interpreters, and other communication professionals, 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

Fittingly, the extension to PAPYRUS’ support services was launched at the start of Deaf Awareness Week.

Stu Chaplin added: “Although a lot of the calls, texts and emails we receive are from young people, our services are also here for anyone of any age who is worried about a child or young person who may be having thoughts of suicide.

“Removing this barrier to effective communication with the Deaf community and increasing accessibility means we will be engaging with more people.

“Working together, across different communities and demographics, we can all help to keep our children and young people safe from suicide.”

You can access the HOPELINE247 BSL-translation service, here: https://www.papyrus-uk.org/hopeline247-british-sign-language-support/

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 88247 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

You can watch the full video on our YouTube channel here: British Sign Language Support on HOPELINE247 (youtube.com)

Ends

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK.

PAPYRUS aims to reduce the number of young people who take their own lives by breaking down the stigma around suicide and equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.

HOPELINE247 is the charity’s confidential helpline service providing practical advice and support to young people with thoughts of suicide and anyone concerned about a young person who may have thoughts of suicide.

HOPELINE247 is staffed by trained professionals, offering a telephone, text and email service.

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