Support groups tell of mental health pressures on young people in Suffolk

New services are being launched across Norfolk and Waveney to progress mental health with a range of

Concern has been voiced about more young people experiencing mental health challenges - Credit: Getty Images/iStockphoto

People involved in mental health support in Suffolk have spoken of their concern over pressures facing young people.

The comments come after it was confirmed the body of a 17-year-old boy had been found in the River Orwell on Tuesday morning. Police had earlier received reports concerning the safety of a person seen on the Orwell Bridge.

The tragic news comes after a 16-year-old boy died in March, after falling from the railway viaduct in Spring Road, Ipswich. 

The circumstances around both cases are unknown, and inquests will be held in due course.

Last night, support organisations said the news was devastating.

Bec Jasper, co-director of the Suffolk-based support organisation Parents and Carers Together (PACT) said: "On behalf of PACT, we send our deepest and most sincere condolences to this young man and his family and friends. We are truly devastated for this family."

Commenting generally on the issue of mental health, Mrs Jasper said the pressures young people are under today should never be underestimated.

"It is everyone's responsibility to make sure we know the signs and symptoms of poor mental health, listen non-judgementally, show kindness and provide appropriate and timely support when people reach out.

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Nancy Merford, of Suffolk Young People's Health Project (4YP), said: "While the pandemic has been difficult and many people have experienced new stresses and anxieties, it has served to highlight the need for prevention work and easy access to mental health support services."

She added that uncertainty about exams, college and university courses had led to stress and anxiety for many young people, on top of the isolation of lockdown. 

Everett O'Donoghue, Suffolk's young people’s mental health champion, said: "Covid and lockdown have added to pressure on young people, especially those who already had mental health issues before the pandemic."

Last week, it was revealed there has been an increasing number of young people in Suffolk seeking mental health support as the impact of the coronavirus lockdown takes its toll.

The rise in demand for youth mental health support was one of the issues revealed during Welcome Back to Wellbeing, a one-day event held by the EADT and Ipswich Star, which brought together health professionals, support services and those who have experience of mental health challenges. 

The Norfolk and Suffolk NHS Foundation Trust (NSFT) advises, if you notice changes in your child’s mood, thinking patterns or behaviour, it is important to seek help and advice from your GP immediately, and if you think your child may be in mental health crisis you can contact the First Response helpline.

Those in need of help can contact the following local and national services below:

First Response 
Call 0808 196 3494 to speak to someone on the 24-hour mental health crisis line. The line offers immediate advice and support for people with mental health difficulties of any age. If anyone is at serious risk of harm, call 999 and ask for the police. For non-life threatening medical situations, call NHS111 on 111.

NSFT Wellbeing service
Wellbeing Suffolk offers help and support to improve people's wellbeing and manage stress, low mood and anxiety. Call 0300 123 1503, 9am-5pm, or visit the service's website.

Children and Young People's Emotional Wellbeing Hub

The Emotional Wellbeing Hub provides information, advice, and guidance if you are worried about the mental health of a child or young person aged 0-25 years, or you're a young person experiencing emotional wellbeing difficulties. Visit the website.

Parents and Carers Together (PACT)

This Suffolk-based organisation offers free, confidential support, including information and advice for any parent/carer worried about the emotions, behaviour or mental health of a child or young person. Call the Supportline, 07856 038799 (not 24/7) or visit the website.

The ACE Project
Supporting young people in Suffolk to Achieve, Connect and Enjoy for Wellbeing.
Call 07413381461 or visit the website. 

Every day, Samaritans responds to around 10,000 calls for help. 
Call free 116 123, or visit the website.

StayAlive app
The StayAlive app is a suicide prevention resource for the UK, packed full of useful information and tools to help you stay safe in crisis.
Download the StayAlive 
app from the App Store or Google Play, or you can also visit the website.

A free online counselling and emotional wellbeing support service for young people. Visit the Kooth website.

Suffolk Mind 
Suffolk Mind provides support and information for everyone on anything from wellbeing to ‘severe and enduring’ mental ill-health.

Suffolk Parent Carer Network 
A voluntary organisation of parents and carers of children and young people with additional needs and/or disabilities in Suffolk. Visit the website here.

Suffolk Young People's Health Project (4YP)

A local charity which works with young people aged 12 to 25.

Visit the website.