Number of young suicidal Islanders reaching out has doubled

Head of the Isle of Wight Youth Trust says many young people feel like they don’t belong, that the community doesn’t think much of them.

teenager mobile phone

The number of suicidal young Islanders reaching out for help has doubled over the last year.

Last month, the Isle of Wight Youth Trust helped 43 young people who had attempted or contemplated suicide — double the number during March last year.

Healy: “They have no where to go”
Trust chief executive Mairead Healy, said young people were increasingly struggling to find jobs and cope with the pressure of online bullying and social media culture.

She said,

“We see a lot of young people in our service who have made suicide attempts.

“A lot of young people feel like they don’t belong, that the community doesn’t think much of them.

“There is a correlation between the number of young people suffering from mental health issues and the lack of youth support.

“They have no where to go.”

Helped over 1,000 young Islanders
In the last year, the trust has helped more than 1,000 young people — and the increasing number of referrals has placed the service under pressure.

There is currently a four-week waiting list for an assessment.

Mairead said:

“That’s not a comfortable position for us as an organisation. If someone has taken the brave step to reach out for support, we want to be able to see them straight away.

“We have stepped in to plug the gaps but we are under a lot of pressure.”

No funding for 18-25 care
In addition, the trust does not receive funding to help young people aged between 18 and 25.

Mairead said,

“The trust made a conscious decision a few years ago to continue offering that support, but we do not receive any funding.

“It’s a really difficult time for those young people and it can be difficult for them to access support.”

Breaking down stigma
Mairead said the increasing number of referrals could be attributed to a rise in the number of young people struggling with suicidal thoughts, or it could be because mental health issues are now discussed more openly, leading to more young people coming forward.

She said,

“There is a breaking down of that stigma. People know it’s okay to talk about it.”

Healy: Better support needed
The Isle of Wight Youth Trust now has more than 16 community clinics, with 17 counsellors and psychologists.

Mairead, whose brother took his own life, said:

“I feel very personally that people should receive better support because my brother never received that help.”

The following organisations offer free and confidential support over the phone:

  • Samaritans —116 123 24 hour support, every day of the year
  • Papyrus — 0800 068 41 41 Monday to Friday 10am to 10pm, weekends 2pm to 10pm, bank holidays 2pm to 10pm or Text 0778 620 9697 – prevention of young suicide
  • Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM) — 0800 58 58 58, 5pm – midnight. Dedicated to preventing male suicide

This article is from the BBC’s LDRS (Local Democracy Reporter Service) scheme, which OnTheWight is taking part in. Some alterations and additions may be been made by OnTheWight. Ed

Image: summerskyephotography under CC BY 2.0

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