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Silence and ignorance are killing our young people

7th September 2016

YouGov survey highlights suicide stigma

10 September is World Suicide Prevention Day - #TalkThroughTheTaboo

In the UK suicide is the leading cause of death¹ for young people, both male and female. Every year around 1,600² children and young people aged 10 to 34 take their own lives.

But a new YouGov survey commissioned by national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide reveals 78% of those surveyed did not know that suicide is the leading killer of our young people. The nation needs to wake up to the reality before more young lives are lost, says the charity.

Ged Flynn, PAPYRUS chief executive, says, “That suicide is the leading cause of death in young people impels all of us to wake up and make it an urgent priority. People do not realise how major this issue is. We need to raise this level of awareness and enable people to be more comfortable with the idea that they too can help to prevent suicide.”

56% of survey respondents selected at least one reason from a list of things which would prevent them from asking a distressed friend or family member if they were thinking about suicide. The main reason given was the fear of putting the idea of suicide into a person’s head (24%).

“All the evidence shows that naming suicide is a relief for the person at risk and that we cannot create the idea by talking about suicide”, stresses Ged Flynn. “I cannot emphasise more strongly that asking about destructive feelings, talking about suicide, does not make it more likely to happen. It can, and often does, reduce the risk of suicide. Talking about suicide can seem scary but silence and stigma are killing young people. Many young people feel isolated with thoughts of suicide. People can start today by supporting our #TalkThroughTheTaboo campaign – it could save a young life.”

In the same survey, 60% of respondents selected at least one reason from a list of things which, if they were feeling suicidal, would prevent them from speaking out about it. This was often either because they would not wish to worry anyone (31%) or felt they would be letting people down (26%). This is further evidence, says PAPYRUS, that stigma is a barrier to seeking help.

¹ Office for National Statistics Statistical Bulletin: Suicides in the United Kingdom: 2014 Registrations

² In 2014, 1,556 young people under the age of 35 took their own lives. Between the ages of 10and 24 the number was 597 equivalent to the population of a small secondary school. Office for National Statistics

All figures, unless otherwise stated, are from YouGov Plc. Total sample size was 2015 adults. Fieldwork was undertaken between 30th - 31st August 2016. The survey was carried out online. The figures have been weighted and are representative of all GB adults (aged 18+).

About PAPYRUS

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 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

Editorial contact for more information: Rosemary Vaux PAPYRUS press office direct line 020 8943 5343 mobile 07792 72 62 41

 

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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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