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Healthcare staff urged to talk to patients who may feel suicidal

Head of charity Papyrus says staff must take the first step
Suicidal patient

Healthcare professionals should initiate conversations when helping people who feel suicidal, according to a charity head.

The advice came from Ged Flynn, chief executive of Papyrus, a charity that aims to prevent suicide by young people.

Addressing delegates at the suicide prevention conference at the University of Salford in Manchester last week, Mr Flynn highlighted poster campaigns by charities that include telephone helpline numbers for people who may be feeling suicidal.

Most posters say heres a helpline, you do the talking, he said. This puts another burden on people who are already weighed down by thinking of taking their own life.

I want you to ask people about suicide.

In 2014, 1,556 people under the age of 35 in the UK took their own lives, according to Papyrus; this equates to a quarter of all deaths by suicide in the

Healthcare professionals should initiate conversations when helping people who feel suicidal, according to a charity head.


Picture: iStock

The advice came from Ged Flynn, chief executive of Papyrus, a charity that aims to prevent suicide by young people. 

Addressing delegates at the suicide prevention conference at the University of Salford in Manchester last week, Mr Flynn highlighted poster campaigns by charities that include telephone helpline numbers for people who may be feeling suicidal. 

‘Most posters say “here’s a helpline, you do the talking”,’ he said. ‘This puts another burden on people who are already weighed down by thinking of taking their own life.’

‘I want you to ask people about suicide.’

In 2014, 1,556 people under the age of 35 in the UK took their own lives, according to Papyrus; this equates to a quarter of all deaths by suicide in the UK that year. 

Papyrus trains professionals in how to recognise a young person who is at risk of suicide, as well as how to provide immediate and effective help. 

It also runs awareness-raising sessions with young people and those who care for them or work with them, to reduce stigma around talking about suicide.


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