A suicide prevention charity has called on people of diverse backgrounds to become volunteers to help support young people in Northern Ireland.

PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide were among organisations attending Mela Day – a celebration of cultural diversity in Belfast in Botanic Gardens on Sunday (Aug 27).

Caroline King, Northern Ireland Area Manager for PAPYRUS said: “It is key for PAPYRUS to be visible and present in all our communities across Northern Ireland, but it is especially important to let our ethnic minority communities know our 24/7 helpline HOPELINE247 (0800 068 4141) is accessible for them.”

“PAPYRUS want to encourage people from all cultures, traditions, ethnicities and abilities to come volunteer with us. When young people see people who look like, sound like or have differences like them having a valued place in PAPYRUS they will know this is a safe organisation for them to come and ask for help.

“Volunteering for PAPYRUS is flexible and you only give what time you can. We offer a full induction and training before you would be asked to do anything. PAPYRUS have lots for volunteers to do including leaflet drops, hosting a stand, supporting our fundraisers and many more.”

Lekan Ojo-Okiji Abasi, Clinical Co-ordinator of Belfast-based organisation Counselling All Nations Services (CANS)

Lekan Ojo-Okiji Abasi, Clinical Co-ordinator of Belfast-based organisation Counselling All Nations Services (CANS) said: “Here at Mela Day we can see the multitude of different colours, languages and traditions in our community and that is part of what will make young people know that they are not alone and that there are people that look like them and think like them.

“I would encourage young people of ethnic minorities who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts to reach out to local projects that offer support and helplines like HOPELINE247. In Northern Ireland you can also reach out to Lifeline or speak to your GP.

“Something organisations can do to support young people of ethnic minorities is to prioritise the cultural awareness of their staff. They need to be aware and open to talking to different people and meet them at their point of need instead of a “one size fits all” approach.”

 To find out more about volunteering at PAPYRUS go to https://www.papyrus-uk.org/volunteer-for-us/ or contact northernireland@papyrus-uk.org.

PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide at Mela Day 27.8.23

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 88247 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org.

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