Conference on preventing young suicide

Conference on preventing young suicide

By Liz Lockhart

The number of young people in the UK who take their own lives each year is frightening.  According to PAPYRUS, a national charity dedicated to the prevention of young suicide, the figure is between 600 and 800 young people aged between 15 and 24.  This number equates to a small secondary school.  The number of people under the age of 35 who commit suicide is 2,100 each year and 75% of this number are young men. 

PAPYRUS tells us that in England and Wales alone around 24,000 attempted suicides are made by 10 to 19 year olds each year– this equates to one every 20 minutes.  Fortunately many suicide cases are reached before it is too late but, nonetheless, suicide remains the principal cause of death in young males aged between 18 and 24.

PAPYRUS was founded in 1997 by a group of parents who had lost a child through suicide.  The group was made up of parents who were determined to do everything possible to save other families and young people from a similar experience.  PAPYRUS   offers support to young people and also provides practical help to anyone concerned that a young person may be at risk of killing themselves, people such as parents, partners, siblings, grandparents, friends, teachers, carers, medical professionals or work colleagues.

On Saturday 30th June 2012, PAPYRUS is holding its annual conference in Bristol at the Grand Hotel in the city centre.  They are inviting anyone who may be interested to attend, people such as those affected by the death of a young person to suicide, or by the suicidal behaviour of a young person they know, or has a professional interest in preventing young suicide. 

There will be much on offer at the conference with keynote speakers such as Dr Sharon McDonnell from the Centre for Mental health and Risk at the University of Manchester and Cindy O’Connor from Pieta House in Ireland, which provides individual therapy for people who self-harm.  There is also an appearance from a group of young people who are leading a schools’ project in Kent.

Ged Flynn, CEO of PAPYRUS, said ‘Most of the young people who take their own lives each year are not known to mental health services.  At the heart of this conference will be how we prevent young people with suicidal thoughts from being part of tomorrow’s suicide statistics.’

He added ‘If you have been affected by the suicide of a family member, friend or colleague, or have a general interest in the mental wellbeing of young people and would like to know more about how you can help us prevent other young people killing themselves, please join us for this day.’

The conference takes place from 11am to 4pm with coffee served from 10 am. Refreshments and buffet lunch are included.   A donation of £20 is suggested to defray costs.  Please book in advance by calling Norma at PAPYRUS on 01925 572 444,   email [email protected]   or book online at

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