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Harrogate mum launches suicide prevention campaign

Harrogate mum launches suicide prevention campaign

Published by The Stray FM News Team at 6:55am 4th March 2020. (Updated at 9:22am 4th March 2020)

A mum from Harrogate - who lost her son to suicide - is campaigning for a "Suicide Safer Harrogate"

  • Alison Pearson-Segal set up the Ostrich Foundation after her son took his own life.
  • The charity aims to reduce the number of young people who take their own life and remove the stigma.
  • They're running a year-long campaign to train all teachers in Harrogate as mental health first aiders

A mum from Harrogate - who founded a suicide prevention charity in 2018 after her son died by suicide - is campaigning for a "suicide safer Harrogate".

Alison Pearson-Segal says setting up the charity was a way to build something positive out of her grief.

She's urging everyone to make themselves aware of the warning signs, and wants people to start talking more about suicide.

LISTEN: The Ostrich Foundation's Alison Pearson-Segal speaks to Stray FM:

Suicide Safer Harrogate

The Ostrich Foundation are running a year-long campaign for a "Suicide Safer Harrogate".

At the heart of the campaign, the charity is raising money to train teachers in Harrogate to be mental health first aiders.

At the moment, North Yorkshire County Council pays for one teacher per school to receive the training, but the charity wants to extend that to all teachers.

So far, they have enabled 16 teachers at Harrogate Grammar School to be trained.

Alison told Stray FM more about what the training entails:

"It's not going to turn us all into mental health counsellors and psychologists. That's not the mission.

"The mission is to make people aware of what the signs are so if a young person feels able to reach out, we can recognise what those signs are.

"It's having the skill and the knowledge and the confidence to ask those difficult questions.

"It's very difficult to ask someone 'are you feeling suicidal?'"

The charity is working with Harrogate Rugby Club, St John Fishers and King James to provide training for their staff too.

The training is provided by Starfish, which is run by Pat Sowa.


The scale of the problem

Suicide is the biggest killer of young people in the UK. It's the cause of 200 deaths of school children every year.

Since 2004, anxiety in young people has risen by 48%. At least 10% of adolescents report having self-harmed.

Over 75% of deaths in men younger than 45 are from suicide. The number's higher for North Yorkshire.

You can find out more about the Ostrich Foundation by clicking here.

If you're affected by any of the issues raised in this article, support is available. Click here to access the Samaritans website.

If you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide, call the Hopeline on 0800 068 14 14, text 07860 039967 or email pat@papyrus-uk.org.