The annual suicide count among young people has risen by 23% since 2017. But charities in Nottingham are trying to combat the issue locally.

Here we identify and explain the many ways suicide affects young people in our area and what’s being done to help.

Suicides among young people

The latest statistics show that young suicide is becoming more prevalent. In fact, last year’s total count of 1,866 was the highest in the UK for the past ten years. It’s possible this is due to the introduction and growing influence social media is having on this particular group.

It’s estimated around 70% of 15- 25-year olds are active on one or more social media platforms including WhatsApp, Snapchat, Facebook and Instagram. But the problem is the protection that many of these users has online is very limited, sometimes causing these apps to be deemed detrimental not beneficial.

The lack of protection often invites online trolls to contact users, making it no surprise that 43% of young people were threatened and bullied online last year.  Sadly, only 45% of victims reported cyber-bullying to their parents or friends, leaving many young people feeling anxious, depressed, and even suicidal, when dealing with these problems themselves.

The difficulty of monitoring young people on social media makes it harder for parents and loved ones to identify when they’re suffering. Sus Bully, a musician from South London, expresses how social media could’ve played a part when losing his 13-year-old cousin to suicide.

 

How charities in Nottingham are tackling this issue

The latest national suicide report shows that the East Midlands has the second highest suicide rate in the country.

The suicide rate per 100,000 people in 2018, by English Region.

Charities in Nottingham have identified that speaking out about mental health, caused from online threats can be a daunting task for the victim. Often people are scared of the responses they’ll receive once speaking out, and if negative, this can make the situation a lot worse.

Rosemary Vaux, a press officer from the Papyrus charity in Nottingham believes that many are too embarrassed to talk to strangers let alone people they know, as it can be seen as provoking a reaction. The charity decided to provide a service where she says

“young people will alternatively text us as calls can be monitored and overheard”.
Rosemary Vaux, Papyrus Press Officer

This has made it a lot easier for young people to communicate their problems.

For people who want to support a loved one, the Papyrus website features advice on conversation starters, through questions to ask the person directly, which gives many people the confidence to feel like they have the support system which pushes them through their personal struggles.

The Nottingham Counselling Service is another organisation that offers support to those struggling with their mental health across the county. Executive Director Leslie McDonald talks about the growing number of clients the NCS is seeing every year.

The growing number of young female suicides

In the past, suicides among young females have been relatively low, in comparison to other age groups. However, in 2018, women under 25, averaged more than three suicides a week, 83% more than the average six years ago, signifying just how much this has increased in recent times.

For many young women, social media apps like Instagram have had a negative impact on their self-esteem. Social media is often a place where people display the best moments of their lives leaving consumers with a FOMO feeling.

The introduction of Instagram influencers and programmes like Love Island have made some women more body conscious. This is not surprising as; 84% of Instagram’s influencers are female and tend to have admired curves, a perfect smile and a flat stomach; making it a difficult task for the average female consumer to feel secure.

Image Courtesy of ITV – Amber Gill (pictured above) found fame from her appearance on Love Island 2019. Is there a pressure for many girls to look like her?

How financial hardship causes mental health & suicidal thoughts

It’s common for people to have poor mental health as a result of financial hardship. Often resolving finance related issues can create a sense of anxiety which effects many students each year.

Approximately 78% of students at university are worried about budgeting to make ends meet.

In Nottingham there’s an estimated 75,000 students at the University of Nottingham and Trent combined. This explains why initiatives such as The Tomorrow Project formed by Harmless in Nottingham, play a pivotal role in supporting students with financial worries.

“we receive calls from students WHO ARE struggling to pay BILLS AND AFFORD THE luxury things they want TO DO”.
Bevin Nolan, Support Officer at Harmless

More than 100,000 people in debt attempted suicide in the UK last year. This concludes that people struggling financially, are three times more liable to take their own life, than people who aren’t.

To get help in the UK and Ireland:

– For young people feeling suicidal or worried about a friend call Papyrus on 0800 068 4141 or text 07860 039967.

– For support and psychotherapy services contact the Nottingham Counselling Service on 0115 950 1743, or visit their website here.

The Samaritans are open 24 hours a day. Call 116 123 or email jo@smaritans.org.