10th September is World Suicide Prevention Day. The day is a time for people around the world to raise awareness of the risks of suicide and most importantly the what we can do to prevent it.
Suicide is a growing concern in the UK, this was recently recognised by the government when they appointed the world’s first Minister for Suicide Prevention. Last week the Office for National Statistics (ONS) revealed that males continue to account for three in every four suicide deaths and that suicide rates have risen. This increase is partly down to the rate for boys and men hitting a 16-year high (Independent, 2019).
These figures are evidence of a growing mental health crisis and also indicate a worrying trend of young males being particularly afflicted. It’s important to consider the connection with the Good Childhood Report findings that boys are becoming increasingly unhappy with their appearance (Children’s Society, 2019). This could suggest that the pressures to fit in and look a certain way are one of the factors affecting the mental health of young males. The link between mental health and social media is widely discussed; young people face unprecedented pressures from what they see online, something that no generation has experienced at this magnitude before.
One boy interviewed by The Children’s Society said “Like Instagram and stuff, right? You see all these models, you see all these weight lifters, body-builders and you look at yourself and you’re like – I look like a stick. I feel like we’re exposed to a lot more so we are less secure about our appearance.”
People with mental health problems are at a higher risk of committing suicide, with more than 90% of suicides and suicide attempts having been found to be associated with a psychiatric disorder (Hawton, et al, 2003). Mental health problems can be complex with individuals needing much support, but suicide is not inevitable; it is a preventable death. One way to prevent it is to reduce the stigma around mental health, so people feel more comfortable speaking-up and asking for help. Lots of positive advances have been made from initiatives like Heads Together and Time to Change, but there is still more we can do.
In response to this, at tootoot we have developed a 12-week Mental Health and Resilience Programme, designed to help pupils build their mental resilience and generate conversations about mental health.
There are still 5 days left to sign-up to the programme, which includes:
Registration ends on the 13th September
If you are struggling with suicidal thoughts please contact: