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Child suicide – the hidden reality revealed

11th February 2016

The Office of National Statistics has published child suicide statistics for the first time. The figures reveal that nearly 100 children aged between 10 and 14 years have taken their own lives in the last decade (59 boys and 30 girls).

As the charity dedicated to preventing suicide in all young people under 35 years of age, we believe that public awareness of the reality of young suicide is vital.

“This is a national scandal,” comments Ged Flynn, the charity’s chief executive. “Suicides by children under 10 remain unrecognised in suicide figures, yet this week we learn of the suicide of another 9 year old.

“I believe that we hide the fact that children and young people die this way, because it is far too painful. However, the reality, highlighted by these statistics, confirms that it is not going away.

“Young suicide is everyone’s business. We have to talk about it. I cannot stress more strongly that talking about suicide does not make it more likely to happen. Everyone needs to understand that changes in behaviour in young people, including the very young, could be indicators of suicide. Only then will we begin to see a reduction in these alarming statistics.

“We have known for some time that depression can start at a very young age. Society as a whole needs to recognise this fact and not be scared to address it. There is never one reason why a child takes their own life, but there is help and support for anyone who is concerned.”

Through our helpline services we advise parents, grandparents, other family members and friends, as well as teachers and medical professionals on creating suicide-safe environments for all young people. We will also advise on how to introduce the subject with a young person. Whether via telephone, text or e-mail our services are confidential and anonymity is respected – and we will intervene if we feel a life is in imminent danger.

If you are worried contact us now. You have nothing to lose: you could save a life.

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Suicide is the biggest killer of young people - male and female - under 35 in the UK. Many thousands more attempt or contemplate suicide, harm themselves or suffer alone, afraid to speak openly about how they are feeling.

We are the national charity for the prevention of young suicide. We draw from the experience of many who have been touched personally by young suicide across the UK and speak on their behalf in our campaigns and in our work. We need more people who share our aims to join us to strengthen our voice - together we can save young lives.

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