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Last Update: 3 Hour and 31 Minute ago
News code: 28959
Published Date: Monday 20 January 2020 - 16:04:32
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Youth suicide: At-risk in Wales 'falling through gap'

Youth suicide: At-risk in Wales 'falling through gap'
World  - Children at risk of suicide in Wales are still "falling through the gaps", the children's commissioner has warned.

Sally Holland said some young people were being "bounced around the system" and wants a more joined-up approach.

It comes as the youth suicide prevention charity Papyrus opens its first Welsh office - calling youth suicides a "scandal".

The Welsh Government said it would invest £5m for support in schools.

First Minister Mark Drakeford said it was everybody's responsibility to "weave together a safety net" for young people.

Ms Holland welcomed the spending commitment but warned: "There'll be some children who need more support than the school or universal services can offer and that's where we need to make sure they don't get lost in the system.

"Children tend to often now, with their families, fall down through the gaps so they sit on a waiting list for one service, perhaps get turned away from that, get told to go and try somewhere else, what we might say is being bounced around the system.

"We need to make sure there's a no-wrong-door approach - if you reach out for help you don't keep being told you're at the wrong door."

In recent months, Ms Holland has travelled across Wales asking organisations to work together through the regional partnership boards.

"I'm pleased to say that some regions are rapidly changing how they respond to those kinds of calls for help so that they get support really quickly from the right people early enough, but other areas still have some way to go."

According to the Office for National Statistics, 38 young people aged 10-24 took their own life in Wales in 2018.

From its new Cardiff office Papyrus will provide advice over the phone to young people contemplating suicide, and those who are worried a young person might be at risk.

Papyrus' head of Wales Kate Heneghan said: "One is too many, 38 is a scandal.

"We know that the more outreach work we do within our Welsh communities the more calls we receive to our helpline from young people struggling, and from concerned others too, not knowing where to turn for support."

Asked if the Welsh Government was doing enough in this area, Ms Heneghan said: "We always say it's not enough, more can be done."

 

News Code: 28959
Published Date: Monday 20 January 2020 - 16:04:32
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