Every year 1600 young people take their own lives in the UK, while thousands more contemplate suicide. Others harm themselves, suffer alone or are afraid to speak openly about how they feel. Last March FAMILIAS (the Association for Catholic Diocesan Marriage and Family Life Ministry) joined forces with PAPYRUS, a national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide, to raise awareness of these statistics and appropriate responses. Four regional workshops were hosted in the Dioceses of Cardiff, Clifton, Liverpool and Westminster.
Two hundred parishioners, social workers, teachers, youth workers, counsellors and diocesan representatives took part in these workshops, facilitated by Papyrus Chief Executive, Ged Flynn. They looked at stigma, attitudes and beliefs about suicide, and how talking about suicide does not increase risk but can really help.
“Many of the attendees had personal experience of suicide,” said Maureen O’Brien, event organiser in Liverpool. “Although the day would have been difficult at times, the overall consensus was that it had given them the courage to speak out about suicide.”
“The conference has made a significant contribution to the raising of awareness in this area,” said a schools adviser in Cardiff Archdiocese. “The input and workshops provided by Papyrus should feature in every school’s INSET programme so that all educational professionals can play their part in helping those who are suffering.” The Cardiff workshop was also attended by school governors, local council representatives and the mental health charity, Hafal.
As a result of the workshop in Clifton diocese, it is hoped that two training days for clergy and schools will be offered next autumn.
PAPYRUS offers confidential advice and support to young people and helps others to prevent young suicide by campaigning, working with and training professionals. HOPELineUK is a specialist telephone service staffed by trained professionals who give non-judgemental support, practical advice and information.
Call HOPELineUK in confidence on 0800 068 41 41 or SMS: 07786 209697
Please use this link FIND A DIOCESAN COORDINATOR to locate your nearest Marriage and Family Life Coordinator for information on any future training and awareness raising events in your area.