Children are showing remarkable courage and resilience under lockdown, according to a national suicide prevention charity.
New figures for 2020 show many under 18s who were struggling with thoughts of suicide found the strength to contact the confidential helpline run by PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide.
The charity is also praising parents and loved ones who continue to contact its HOPELINE247 service to get potentially life-saving support for children they are concerned about.
Speaking during Children’s Mental Health Week, the Chief Executive of PAPYRUS, Ged Flynn, said: “It shows such wonderful resilience that children, who have been unable to talk to anyone, have been able to reach out and speak to us and share how bewildered and frightened they are.
“It is also wonderful that parents and families have been able to support children in ways they have never done before; seeing the need to intervene and seizing the opportunity to get them the professional support and advice they need.”
Every week the charity receives hundreds of calls, texts and emails. Last year 39.5% of those who contacted HOPELINE247, and agreed to give their age, were under 18.
Of the “concerned others” who contacted PAPYRUS, 80.8% did so because they were fearful about a child’s welfare.
Nadine Dorries MP, Minister for Mental Health, Suicide Prevention and Patient Safety, said: “These findings demonstrate how resilient our children are to uncertainty and change – it is really outstanding.”
Lynne Neagle MS, who chairs the Welsh Parliament’s cross-party group on suicide prevention, said: “The collateral damage caused to our children by the closure of schools, clubs and other opportunities to socialise makes it even more important than ever that we all do what we can to support our children, young people and their families at this difficult time. I really welcome all the vital work PAPYRUS does to support young people.”
Professor Siobhan O’Neill, interim Mental Health Champion for Northern Ireland, said: “The resources provided by PAPYRUS are invaluable for parents who are supporting children and I thank them for everything that they do to support young people and save lives.”
PAPYRUS is concerned that more vulnerable children are getting reduced access to quality health care because of the lockdown restrictions. They are finding services difficult to reach and support hard to find.
For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINE247 on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email firstname.lastname@example.org