New Bolton community initiative aims to reduce young suicide

Thursday 19 November 2015

Today NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group (CCG) and national charity PAPYRUS Prevention of Young Suicide announced a new programme that aims to reduce the number of young suicides in the Bolton area.

In Bolton during 2013 (latest published statistics) there were 8 suicides by young people aged 10-34 years (6 male 2 female). Behind that statistic is a large number who self harm, not all presenting to A&E. PAPYRUS experience in the community indicates that those working on the front line are dealing on a regular basis with young people at risk of suicide.

The Suicide Safer Communities Programme for Young People will be managed by PAPYRUS and funded by Bolton CCG, within its ‘building healthy partnerships’ project.

For this project, the largest of its kind to be launched in the UK to date, PAPYRUS is recruiting a team of 32 volunteers aged between 16 and 35 to organise, co-ordinate and deliver suicide prevention activities across the Bolton area. Volunteers will be trained in suicide prevention first aid, known as Applied Suicide Intervention Skills training to support them with their activities. These will include workshops, information points and support campaigns that aim to shatter the stigma of suicide that prevents too many young people from seeking help.

“Our aim is to help Bolton become a ‘suicide-safer community’, a community in which suicide is spoken about openly and safely, and young people know where to access help and support for suicide prevention,” said Alice Newton, Project Co-ordinator, PAPYRUS. “For young people to hear open talk about suicide prevention from their peers, we believe will encourage many more young people to talk about how they feel and get help to see them through difficult and distressing times.”

Wirin Bhatiani, Chair of Bolton CCG, said: “I am delighted that we are able to fund this programme - improving access to mental health services in Bolton is a high priority for us, as early access to effective support can make a huge difference in times of need for people with mental health issues”.

Said Ged Flynn, PAPYRUS Chief Executive: “suicide remains the main cause of death in young men and women under 35. The North West has one of the highest rates of young suicide. We aim to build a society which speaks openly about suicide and has the resources to help young people who may have suicidal thoughts. We are pleased to partner NHS Bolton Clinical Commissioning Group in this mission.”

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