Anti-suicide messages for pupils after ‘serious’ incidents in Sandwell

Anti-suicide messages aimed at school children are being distributed across Sandwell following two ‘serious incidents’.

Education bosses have launched a campaign encouraging pupils to speak out about their mental and emotional health and not be afraid to seek help.

Lesley Hagger, executive director of children’s services, said the authority has increased its efforts to help youngsters.

She told a meeting of council’s children’s services and education scrutiny board the situation was a major concern, adding: “We have had a couple of very serious incidents in the borough and it’s made us think about making sure that we talking really openly with children about their anxieties and pressures so they know they can look to support and they can talk to people if they are feeling they can’t cope.

“It is a very serious issue for us.”

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Details of the cases are being withheld in respect to the families.

Education bosses reported on steps it is taking to protect Sandwell’s 268 clinically extremely vulnerable children.

Last July, the NHS reported nationallythat one in six children aged between five and 16 in England were identified as having a probable mental health issue.

An Ofsted report into the impact of Covid published last month said a number of head teachers had seen an increase in eating disorders among both girls and boys when schools reopened in September.

It added others had also reported higher numbers of pupils self-harming, both in primary and secondary education.

In a statement, Sandwell Council, said: “Many young suicides can be prevented. With the aim of preventing such tragedies, the council has in place targeted communications for young people including campaigns via a range of media channels and engagement networks, such as the Just Youth web page, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat, YouTube, Twitter and TikTok.

“The materials offer help to individuals by signposting them to key agencies offering confidential support, including the national providers Kooth and Mind of My Own and a range of local providers such as BEAM and Murray Hall Trust.”

The council has issued posters which are displayed in school areas where pupils say they go when feeling down and recently completed training sessions for parents on keep children safe online.

Support services are available for parents including Samaritans (24 hour support – call 116 123) and a helpline at youngminds.org.uk

Anyone in a crisis can text 85258 for SHOUT the UK’s first 24/7 crisis text service, free on all major mobile networks for anyone in crisis anytime.

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