Support For Anti-Suicide Charity

A suicide-prevention charity that runs a UK-wide “hope line” from Wrexham has set up a Wales support group. Papyrus was set up by parents who lost children by suicide and aims to prevent more young people killing themselves.

Supporters held a meeting at Deeside College, Flintshire, on Thursday night to form a new fundraising group. Papyrus Cymru secretary Jean Catherall said the charity aimed to make mental health an issue which was spoken about “in a more relaxed way”.

Ms Catherall, who retired from the college as a business administration lecturer in 1995, is a friend of one of the charity’s founders, Ann Parry, who lives near Mold. She said: “Suicide is very much a taboo subject. If someone’s lost someone to suicide, it’s very difficult for them to say that. It leaves the close friends and family very guilty that they were not able to do something.”

The charity supports families, concerned friends, medics, mental health professionals, education staff and others who work with young people. Its HOPELineUK call centre costs around £60,000 per year to run.

Ms Catherall said her own experiences in teaching had helped her understand the issues involved. She said: “As a parent and a lecturer, you are aware of how emotional youngsters can be and how easily they’re hurt. Something which we may consider to be a little ripple is life-threatening to them – the wrong remark at the wrong time can leave them emotionally vulnerable.

“There’s a lot of pressure on them to achieve and there isn’t always some to speak to. But also at the personal and professional level, getting involved romantically, your hormones at that age are playing havoc and it’s very easy to become distressed, and tragedies unfortunately do occur.”

Papyrus offers an advice helpline for anyone concerned that a young person they know may be at risk of suicide, on 0870 170 4000. It is open from 1900BST to 2200BST Monday to Friday and 1400BST to 1700BST at weekends.