Kids to be given suicide prevention lessons amid ‘highest death rates on record’

Children as young as four will be given suicide prevention lessons after a dramatic rise in deaths.

They are to be taught how to talk about their concerns and spot when others are at risk.

It comes as figures released this week showed some of the highest suicide rates on record for 10 to 14-year-olds.

A Department of Education insider said the lessons could start next year.

The source said: “The Government know they need to do something drastic because things are getting desperate.

“The thinking is, if we get kids young enough, they will be more open to talking about issues and facing them head on.”

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Age appropriate classes will cover topics including fear of starting school, making new friends, exam stress, social media bullying and trolling.

Pupils will also learn about the physical act of suicide and the effects it can have.

Every school will have a mental health ambassador and youngsters will also be told about outside organisations they can contact for help.

The insider continued: “Teachers will be encouraged not to shy away from talking about how and why people kill themselves. And they will especially look into how it affects loved ones afterwards.”

Office for National Statistics figures released this week showed five children aged 10 to 14 committed suicide between January and June this year.

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In the same period, 93 15 to 19-year-olds took their lives – 64 of them boys and 29 girls. In comparison in 2017, three 10 to 14-year-olds killed themselves in the same time period, and 71 aged 15 to 19.

Statistics released for 2018 showed suicide rates among teenagers have almost doubled in eight years.

Little Mix star Jesy Nelson has also highlighted the problem in an “inspiring” online bullying documentary.

She told how comments from trolls had led her to attempt suicide in Odd One Out.

A DoE spokesman said: “Early intervention is vital and to ensure children have quicker access to an increased range of support and treatments, we are training a new dedicated mental health workforce for schools and colleges.”

For confidential support call the Samaritans in the UK free on 116 123 or visit a local Samaritans branch

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