Samaritans Reports Call Increase Across Wales

Rising numbers of youngsters are calling the Samaritans for support following the 16 suspected suicides across the Bridgend area. The charity has reported some of its Welsh branches are handling more calls from those aged under 25 than ever before.

It comes in the wake of the deaths of cousins Nathaniel Pritchard, aged 15, and 20-year-old Kelly Stephenson, last week.

In 2007, the Swansea branch of the Samaritans dealt with 27,000 calls, compared to 25,279 people during 2006.

A spokeswoman for the branch said thousands of calls are put through to the line.

She said: “We do not know if there is an increase in calls locally because people ring the national 0845 number and come through to Swansea. We are always there, 24-hours a day, and welcome anyone ringing.”

The county of Bridgend currently has the sixth highest suicide rate in Wales.

The series of hangings in the past year has led to Mind Cymru campaigning for teachers or school nurses to be trained in suicide awareness so they can detect the signs sooner.

Police are set to unveil the findings of a review into the previous 13 deaths in Bridgend within days, and have continued to maintain the deaths are not linked. Carwyn Jones, AM for Bridgend, said the suicide rates in the area were not that far ahead of other parts of the UK.

“We are talking about suicides in a county of more than 130,000 people, not just the town of Bridgend,” said Mr Jones.

“What we are looking at here, it seems, is a number of unrelated suicides.”

Anyone who needs support from the Samaritans can contact the Swansea branch on 01792 655999.