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World Suicide Prevention Day

Today marks World Suicide Prevention Day, held on the 10th September every year. The day is organised by the International Association for Suicide Prevention (IASP) and the World Health Organisation, and aims to reach out to people who may be struggling.

Why is it important?

Last year, 5,821 people died by suicide. Three-quarters of those 5,821 people were male. During 2016-17, 95 students in higher education died by suicide, with significantly higher rates of suicide for male, compared with female students. In response to the concern over student mental health, Universities UK, in collaboration with the prevention of young suicide UK charity Papyrus, recently published guidance on preventing suicide in young people at Universities.

What can I do?

Reaching out to someone today, particularly if you think someone you know may be struggling, can make a difference. Check in with them and see how they are. Advice on how to start the conversation is available from IASP, Rethink Mental Illness, Mind, and support guides from the Support After Suicide Partnership (Help is at Hand, pages 49-52; Finding the words). Information on how suicide bereavement is different is also provided by Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide.

What to do in a crisis

If you or someone that you know is experiencing a life-threatening medical or mental health emergency:

  • Call 999 and ask for an ambulance (or ask someone else to call for you)
  • Go to A & E (or ask someone else to take you)

Urgent care, but not life-threatening

  • Call 111 (England)
  • Book an emergency GP appointment

Use the ‘I need urgent help’ tool offered by Mind.

Further information on what to do in a mental health crisis or emergency is provided by the NHS. Help for suicidal thoughts can also be found on the NHS website.

Helplines

 

 

 

 

 

If you would like someone to talk to, you may find the following support lines useful:

Papyrus

Advice for young people at risk of suicide
0800 068 4141 (helpline 10am – 10pm, Monday – Friday and 2pm – 5pm, weekends and bankholidays)
07786 209697 (SMS)
www.papyrus-uk.org

Samaritans

116 123 (Freephone, 24 hour helpline)
www.samaritans.org

Survivors of Bereavement by Suicide

For those personally affected by suicide
0300 111 5065 (9am to 9pm)
https://uksobs.org/

CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably)

A charity dedicated to preventing male suicides
0800 58 58 58 (5pm  – midnight every day)
07537 404717 (SMS)
www.thecalmzone.net

Sane Line

Offering specialist mental health emotional support 4.30-10.30pm everyday. You can also email through their website.

Tel: 0300 304 7000. Web: www.sane.org.uk

 

Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss, Research Associate (University of Portsmouth) for the Office for Students postgraduate research student wellbeing project.

Launch of UK Mental Health Networks

On the 6th September, UK Research and Innovation (UKRI) announced the creation of eight new national mental health networks, funded by UKRI and the Government.

What do the new mental health networks address?

The networks are a collaborative effort between charities, researchers, as well as a wide variety of other organisations (e.g., regional and national arts councils) across the UK. The networks aim to understand the causes and development of mental health problems, as well as to explore new treatment options.

What are the research topics that the networks will focus on?

The research topics that the networks address are far reaching, and range from youth and student mental health, to addressing health inequalities in people with severe mental health problems. The eight mental health networks are as follows:

  • The Emerging Minds: Action for Child Mental Health network (led by Professor Cathy Creswell , University of Reading) will explore ways in which children, young people, and their families can experience the benefits of advances in research.
  • The ‘Closing the Gap’ Network+ (led by Professor Simon Gilbody,  University of York) to understand and close the life expectancy gap between those who do and do not have severe mental health problems.
  • The Loneliness and social isolation in mental health network (led by Professor Sonia Johnson, UCL) aims to reduce loneliness and social isolation in those with mental health problems.
  • The MARCH: Social, Cultural and Community Assets for Mental Health network (led by Dr Daisy Fancourt, UCL) aims to understand how social, cultural and community factors can improve and support mental health and wellbeing, as well as preventing problems from occurring in future.
  • The SMARtEN: Student Mental Health Research Network (led by Dr Nicola Byrom, King’s College London) aims to provide data on the state of mental wellbeing in students in higher education, as well as to support them.
  • The Nurture Network: Promoting Young People’s Mental Health in a Digital World (led by Professor Gordon Harold, University of Sussex) aims to explore the effect of digital technology on the mental health of children and young people, as well as with their interactions with their family, school, and peers.
  • The Transdisciplinary Research for the Improvement of Youth Mental Public Health (TRIUMPH) network (led by Professor Lisa McDaid, University of Glasgow) aims to explore ways to improve the mental health and wellbeing of young people, especially those who are vulnerable and disadvantaged.
  • The Violence, Abuse and Mental Health: Opportunities for Change network (led by Professor Louise Howard and Dr Sian Oram, Kings College London) aims to explore how domestic and sexual violence, as well as abuse, impacts mental health and wellbeing, and to assess interventions.

Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss, Research Assistant (University of Portsmouth) for the Office for Students postgraduate research student wellbeing project.

 

 

The Good Childhood Report 2018

Since 2005, The Children’s Society has been working in partnership with the University of York to build up a picture of children’s wellbeing in the UK. The work aims to understand the factors that contribute to how children feel about their lives, and provide recommendations for policy makers to improve the wellbeing of children. Now in its seventh year, The Good Childhood Report describes the findings of research conducted by The Children’s Society and the University of York, with the most recent report, based on longitudinal data, published in August.

An overview of the findings from the sixth wave of the Millennium Cohort Study (MSC), with data collected when children were around the age of 14 years, is presented below. The MSC is a survey of children born in the UK between 2000-2001, and follows the lives of roughly 19,000 children. The overview will focus on the relationship between wellbeing and mental health.

Key findings

Relationship between life satisfaction, depressive symptoms, and emotional and behavioural difficulties

  • A proportion of children with a low happiness in life (happiness with life as a whole), also had high levels of depression (47%), and vice-versa.
  • A small number of children who had low life satisfaction (19%), and those who had high depressive symptoms (19%), also had a high score for emotional and behavioural difficulties.
  • Boys had greater emotional and behavioural difficulties compared to girls, but girls had lower levels of wellbeing and higher symptoms of depression compared to boys.

Physical activity and truancy

  • Children with lower life satisfaction, those with higher depressive symptoms and those with higher emotional and behavioural difficulties, were less likely, compared to other children, to be physically active and were more likely to have truanted.

Self-harm

  • Of the 15% of children who responded that had self-harmed in the past year, girls were more likely than boys (22% vs. 9%) to have self-harmed.
  • Children from White, Mixed and Other ethnic groups were more likely to have self-harmed compared to children from Indian, Pakistani/Bangladeshi and Black/Black British ethnic groups.
  • Children who were attracted to the same gender, or both, were more likely to self- harm. Just under half of children surveyed (46%) had self-harmed.
  • A higher than average risk of self-harm was observed for children who were from lower-income households.
  • Children with higher levels of depressive symptoms (60%), those with low life satisfaction (48%), and those with high emotional and behavioural difficulties (30%) were more likely to self-harm, compared to children with lower levels of symptoms/difficulties.

Policy recommendations

The Children’s Society emphasised that the insights gained from the report should be used by policy makers to inform decisions about children and young people. A key recommendation included using shorter, subjective measures of wellbeing as a tool for identifying children who may need more support (e.g., in schools, in monitoring the wellbeing of looked after children).

Please click on the links to access the full and summary versions of The Good Childhood Report 2018.

About the author

Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss, Research Assistant for the Office for Students postgraduate research student wellbeing project. Dr Moss is based within the School of Education and Sociology at the University of Portsmouth.