A group of eight people standing in front of a large PAPYRUS information billboard at Free Derry Corner in Northern Ireland
From left to right: Martin McClean, Me4Mental; Caroline King, PAPYRUS; Prof Siobhan O’Neill, Mental Health Champion; Patricia Logue, Mayor Derry and Strabane District Council; Aishling Hutton, Councillor Derry and Strabane District Council Dawn Grieve, Foyle Search and Rescue; Joe Moore, PAPYRUS; Helen Harley, Derry and Strabane District Council

SUICIDE PREVENTION CHARITY’S MESSAGE OF HOPE AT FREE DERRY CORNER 

A national charity has become the first to use Free Derry Corner to highlight the tragedy of young suicide.

PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide says the iconic location, which is symbolic of both struggle and hope, is a powerful backdrop in helping to promote its life-saving work across Northern Ireland.

The charity’s name and its confidential helpline number will be writ large at Free Derry Corner for seven days, marking Children’s Mental Health Week.

PAPYRUS says children and young people who are struggling with life should not have to suffer alone with thoughts of suicide.

Caroline King, Area Manager for Northern Ireland, said: “Over the past two years more than 150 young people have tragically taken their own lives here, shattering the lives of their families and their friends.

“At PAPYRUS we believe many suicides can be prevented. Our children and young people may think there is no hope, no way out, only darkness. We need to show them that they are not alone and that professional help and support is available.”

Although suicide does not discriminate between age and social class, those living in the most deprived areas of the UK are at increased risk of suicide.

“We know that the mental health legacy of trouble/conflict is only starting to be properly addressed. PAPYRUS now stands ready to work with all agencies which will prioritise the services which the children and young people of Northern Ireland need and deserve,” added Caroline King.

PAPYRUS says its visibility is increasing across Northern Ireland. The charity’s own research found that around 37% of students are now aware of the charity and the services it offers.

When young people were asked what problems cause them the most stress, the most common answers were:

  • Social media
  • Peer pressure
  • School

The top themes discussed by the charity’s HOPELINE247 service are:

  • Mental health concerns
  • Isolation and loneliness
  • Issues with support.

By using Free Derry Corner, Caroline King and her colleagues hope to send a positive message: “Whether you’ll be leaving or coming into Derry you won’t be able to miss our large PAPYRUS poster advertising our confidential HOPELINE247 service.

“We hope everyone will see it and not just young people. If you’re a parent, a teacher, a family friend, a worker, anyone who is concerned about a young person who may be having thoughts of suicide, our services are for you.

“Having a presence at Free Derry Corner also says PAPYRUS is here, in the heart of the west, not just in Belfast. It shows we are working in communities like yours across Northern Ireland, together helping to save young lives,” said Caroline.

The charity’s poster will be at Free Derry Corner until Wednesday 14 February.

In addition to operating HOPELINE247 and engaging with communities and volunteers in suicide prevention projects, PAPYRUS also offers training to groups and individuals, equipping people with the skills to recognise and respond to suicidal behaviour.

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

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.

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org

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