The role of the Samaritans today
There is a steady increase in children committing suicide in the UK.
The Samaritans are the only organisation collated the statistics.
The Samaritans are of course immensely interested in protecting children and their emotional wellbeing.
The Samaritans CEO Ruth Sutherland believes we need to ease pressure on children by showing them how to manage their emotional state.
Children need to be able to cope with life’s ups and downs. This is a learning process and the more children are protected and cossetted by their parents/schools – the more they will not become resilient to face life’s disappointments.
The Samaritans set up Developing Emotional Awareness and Listening (DEAL) for schools to use, which is aimed at children over 14.
It is important to be able to recognise signs and symptoms of mental health issues.
The NSPCC outlines some signs.
Becoming withdrawn from friends and family
Persistent low mood and unhappiness
Tearfulness and irritability
Worries that stop them from carrying out day to day tasks
Sudden outbursts of anger directed at themselves or others
Loss of interest in activities that they used to enjoy
Problems eating or sleeping
There are more organisations offering help to suicidal children or children with mental Health issues
Young Minds offer support to adults to help them care for children with mental health care issues
SelfharmUK supported people who self-harm.
Family Lives speaks to any carer who needs advice to cope with self-harm and depression and it’s effect on other family members.
Papyrus speaks to young people having suicidal thoughts.
What is the cause for the poor mental health of UK children?
Traumatic events can trigger problems like moving home/school or the birth of a new sibling. Some children are excited by new situations, but others find it hard to accept the change.
Other factors can contribute to mental health issues, parents with similar health issues could influence their children, experiencing death of someone very close to them, divorcing parents, bullying, poverty or discriminations.
The most common mental health problems seen in UK youngsters are depression, self-harm, anxiety disorder, PTSD, hyperactivity and eating disorders.
There is still a lot of work to be done.