Emotional wellbeing and suicide prevention
This morning i was pleased to join many organisations from across Cwm Taf who were meeting to discuss a suicide and self harm prevention plan. Too many people take their own lives in Cwm Taf so the more actions we can all deliver to increase support and interventions is a good thing. Sadly some 34 people a year in Cwm Taf take their own lives and the issue is far too common among men below the age of 49.
In contrast to this the highest rates of self harm is amongst females age 15-19.
My interest in the subject area was increased by listening to evidence as part of the Assembly Health Committee recent inquiry into suicide prevention – report to be published soon. The opportunity to listen to, and discuss, detailed analysis of evidence around suicide prevention and self harm taught to me the importance of being able to talk about these issues. We can all consider the emotional wellbeing of our family, friends and the people we meet in our communities. I also learnt that we need to approach emotional wellbeing in a broad sense because amongst the people who took their own lives around 75% were not known to services who work on these matters.
The Welsh Government has a national strategy “Talk to me 2” which shapes the work around suicide prevention and self harm but the evidence shows that in areas like Cwm Taf we have some of the more significant challenges to address. This reinforces some of the evidence I have gathered in my work on local health and care servicers with 55% of Cwm Taf’s population being in the bottom 20% of the index of deprivation. This is a driver in some many of the challenges we face in physical and mental health.
This important work around emotional wellbeing should start in our schools so that young people grow up learning about emotional resilience. I will be contacting local headteachers asking them to consider how their school provides space and support for emotional wellbeing of their pupils.
As part of today’s event there will be further development of the Cwm Taf prevention plan #Project34+ and the launch of #ItTakesBallsToTalk to help raise awareness of the issues surrounding suicide of men under the age of 49.
I will continue following local work on this important matter.
Remember if you are not feeling at your best, if you are having negative or suicidal thoughts then please look for support, find a space to talk about the issues which are bothering you. Many organisations provide help and support and in many cases talking about the issue can help.