Help for 'suicidal' pupils

PUBLISHED: 04:34 07 September 2006 | UPDATED: 09:49 24 May 2010

SAMARITANS are preparing to go into schools in North Somerset to tackle high suicide rates in youngsters. Young men aged 16-24 have the second highest suicide rate in the country and Weston's Samaritans' branch plans to go into sixth forms and secondary s

SAMARITANS are preparing to go into schools in North Somerset to tackle high suicide rates in youngsters.Young men aged 16-24 have the second highest suicide rate in the country and Weston's Samaritans' branch plans to go into sixth forms and secondary schools across the district to try and ease the problem.Charity chiefs say many youngsters struggle to cope with exam pressure, as well as the stresses of starting university or college and entering new classes at school.Volunteers hope to hold assemblies and seminars at Weston College and other sixth forms to encourage those who need help to call Samaritans.Ann Sykes, the director of Weston's branch, said: "Self harm and abuse are big problems with young people which could lead to suicide."Young men are particularly vulnerable because they never talk about how they feel. We want to get into schools, bring issues out into the open and make students realise they are not alone."We will talk about typically taboo subjects like death so students have the opportunity to discuss it when they might not normally."It is about teaching youngsters it is okay to talk about these things, it's okay to feel things and there are people that will listen to them."Many schools already have counsellors but if students have suicidal feelings they don't want to be seen going to see a counsellor and often actively avoid it, but might contact us after school."E-mail is a key way young people contact us and we always expect an increase in the number we receive at this time of year as exam results come out."Samaritans are trained to simply listen to people and encourage discussion. We don't give advice, but often find after people have talked through an issue they come to their own conclusions on what to do."To contact Samaritans call 01934 632555 or e-mail jo@samaritans.org

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