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Lack of self-worth is fuelling suicidality in young

11th May 2016

Teach children to build a good relationship with themselves says charity

Mental Health Awareness week 16-22 May

11 May 2016 – Lack of self-worth is driving increasing numbers of young people to thoughts of suicide, according to national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide. Young people need to be taught that good relationships with others start with their own self-care, says the charity.

PAPYRUS is calling for more general mental wellbeing sessions in schools and awareness by society in general, to help young people begin to build a positive self-relationship. As well as the basics - getting enough sleep and rest, fresh air and exercise, eating well - we need to teach young people how to deal with negative put-downs, says PAPYRUS.

Calls and contacts made to PAPYRUS HOPELineUK helpline services last month increased by 130% over April 2015. Lack of self-worth is now a dominant theme and increasing numbers of much younger callers (around 11 plus) say they are not good enough.

‘Everyone’s better than me’; ‘I’ll never be good at anything’, ‘I’m not as clever as my friends’; ‘I’m fat’; ‘I’m ugly’, ‘I’m hideous’; ‘everyone hates me’; ‘other people at school tell me to die’ are phrases which the charity’s suicide prevention advisors respond to every day.

“There is a taboo among young people that they will be mocked, appear a failure or weak if they admit to low self-worth: a taboo that is costing young lives,” said Ged Flynn, PAPYRUS chief executive. “Many say they are unable to share their emotional pain, fearing it would burden others. Seeking help is a strong thing to do, not a sign of weakness. When these feelings of failure become overwhelming they can lead to thoughts of suicide as an escape.

“It is important that young people are aware that everyone goes through tough times; that it is normal and that we can’t always solve problems all by ourselves.

“We must all watch out for invitations from young people that say ‘I need help: please ask me how I am feeling’,” urges Ged Flynn. “Talking about suicide is not easy, but society needs to toughen up. Young suicide is everyone’s business. Talking about it does not make it more likely happen – and it can save young lives,”

Editor’s notes

For helpful information on building relationships https://www.papyrus-uk.org/help-advice/mental-health-awareness-week-2016

Every year in the UK between 600 and 800 young people between the ages of 15 and 24 take their own lives - a number equivalent to the population of a small secondary school. Under the age of 35, the number rises to just under 1,600. That equates to around three to four per day. Three quarters of them are young men.


PAPYRUS was founded in 1997 by a group of parents who had a lost a child through suicide: parents determined to do everything possible to save other families and young people from a similar fate.

The charity’s HOPELineUK helpline servicesprovide a unique service in the UK for young people themselves and those concerned about them - to speak confidentially to its team of trained professionals for practical advice and support. Telephone 0800 068 41 41 text 07786 209 697 email pat@papyrus-uk.org


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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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