On 22nd February NICCY brought together young people, community and voluntary groups, policy makers and influencers to explore the issues surrounding suicide and self-harm.
At the conference, in his keynote speech, the Commissioner, Nigel Williams, pledged to report back on the action we at NICCY have been undertaking in this area.
In the intervening three months we have been examining closely the issues, and the NICCY team, led by Head of Research, Policy and Service Review, Teresa Devlin, has met a range of individuals and organisations working in the area of young people’s mental health. Those meetings revealed common themes and areas of concern. These included:
NICCY believes that another strategy would not be the best way forward at this time. We believe that an action plan with the right level of resources will help address many concerns and will help deliver the actions under the Promoting Mental Health Strategy and the forthcoming review by Professor Bamford of Mental Health and Learning Disability which is due to be published in July 2005.
Self Harm and suicide are the manifestations of distress. It is important that we tackle the underlying causes of the distress, and the approach adopted must be to offer support to children and young people, as appropriate throughout their lives, not just at the point of crisis. NICCY would like to see the appropriate allocation of resources for early intervention support for young people who suffer from poor mental health, impulsive and/or risk taking behaviour; including early assessment, diagnosis and therapy.
We have requested meetings with Government Ministers, and had hoped that we would have been able to report on these for May 22nd, but the election and appointment of a new team of ministers has meant this has been delayed.
At future meetings and in correspondence we will be delivering these messages, emphasising the need for adequate resources now, as well as the need for a longer term view. This will include areas such as:
Since the conference we have met with representatives from a range of Statutory, Voluntary and Community organisations. Our actions will continue to support the good work ont he ground and we will lobby to ensure young people’s mental health remains a priority for government, for the community, for public services and for everyone at NICCY.
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