activist advice Andalucia Breaking Britain campaign children Costa Blanca Costa del Sol darkness into light Depression dr England expert hallin healthcare help i weigh instagram jameela jamil Lead Malaga medical news spain newspaper NSPCC Other News pact parents psychologist self harm silence Social media Spain suicide talk teen teenage The Olive Press tips UK Wales

Let’s talk mental health: Why teenage suicide in UK and Spain is on the rise and what parents can do to help

Let's talk mental health: Why teenage suicide in UK and Spain is on the rise and what parents can do to help

A COLLECTION of teddy bears, flowers and delicately handwritten notes embellish the wall of a busy division retailer.

It’s arduous to consider that one month in the past a teenage boy took his personal life by leaping from the fourth flooring of El Corte Ingles in Puerto Banus, in an obvious suicide pact together with his girlfriend.

The premature dying of 16-year-old Brit Richard Fitzsimmons and the circumstances that encompass it have rocked the coast and united many in grief.

However the incident has inspired many to take motion by elevating consciousness about mental well being in youngsters and, above all, attempt to break down the stigma that engulfs it.

Aloha School, the personal faculty Richard and his girlfriend, 14, attended, shortly activated a plan following his demise and introduced in a psychologist to talk to pupils. It additionally circulated emails advising parents to talk with their youngsters about what had occurred.

MEMORIAL: Flowers outdoors El Corte Ingles in Puerto Banus for teen Richard Fitzsimmons who died in an obvious suicide pact together with his girlfriend

In an open letter, the school described him as a ‘wonderful boy’ and provided their honest condolences to his household.

“Aloha College continues to be focussed on the wellbeing of its pupils, to help them through this difficult time. He will be warmly remembered, and sorely missed.”

Though it is unknown what tragically drove the kids to suicide, sadly their story is not an uncommon one.

Suicide is the second main reason for dying in younger individuals aged between 15 to 29 in Spain, following tumours, reveal nationwide statistics.

And rising numbers of teenagers killing themselves in the UK are sparking recent considerations over the mental well being disaster in younger individuals in basic.

In 2017 there have been 177 suicides amongst 15 to 19-year-olds, in contrast with 110 in 2010 – figures which have risen virtually yearly, in accordance to the UK Workplace of Nationwide Statistics.

EXPERT: Marbella-based Dr Alejandra Hallin

Melancholy and bipolar are the commonest causes of suicide globally, adopted by substance abuse, schizophrenia and nervousness issues, says Marbella-based youngster psychologist Dr Alejandra Hallin.

Whereas Samaritans in Spain volunteer, Jilly Hodges, says examination strain, gender points and feeling like an outcast are the major causes expat teenagers name the Costa del Sol helpline feeling suicidal.

“Some have a lack of friends, or are unhappy having left their friends in the UK, or feel like an outsider especially in Spanish speaking schools,” the Costa del Sol-based Samaritan tells the Olive Press.

Regardless of nice advances in mental well being consciousness in current years, why do so many nonetheless endure in silence?

Dr Hallin says the essential drawback with suicide is it is nonetheless thought-about taboo, regardless of it being the second main reason for dying in the world.

“There are so many programmes and adverts teaching you what to do when someone has a heart attack or stroke, but there’s nothing about suicide,” the Harvard College physician advised the Olive Press.

Dr Hallin, who owns mental well being centres in Marbella, Sotogrande, Malaga, Gibraltar and Cadiz, believes the surge in melancholy is a mirrored image of a pressurised, careworn society and suicide is a consequence of ill-treated mental well being.

“The Spanish mental well being system is problematic, until you’re dying they gained’t see you – that’s a luxurious they can’t afford. They don’t have sufficient assets.

“We have to start valuing our mental health and invest in it. When there’s diabetes in the family, you’re more aware of what you eat. It should be the same for mental illnesses, it’s genetic.”

Shifting to one other nation, she insists, is the second largest explanation for melancholy, as foreigners do not have the similar help community.

One other necessary issue that is extremely damaging – reflecting societal views on mental sickness and suicide – is the language we use.

Supposed ‘throw away’ on a regular basis phrases resembling ‘I just wanted to kill myself’ are loaded feedback for individuals who have considered killing themselves, or for many who have been by means of the trauma of dropping somebody to suicide.

Together with ‘I’m depressed’ or ‘he/she is a nutter’ are phrases which have grow to be the norm however unknowingly improve stigma.

“Someone who is feeling low and someone who is clinically depressed are not the same thing,” says Dr Hallin, “if you feel better after exercise or socialising, it is a passing emotion, it is not a clinical illness.”

Social media has additionally proven to trigger psychological stress.

Many have blamed websites like Instagram and Fb for the surge in teen self-harming and suicide.

And it isn’t troublesome to see why. Pages and boards devoted to self-harming, ‘suicide games’, or consuming issues – the place hundreds share ideas for hiding indicators from relations – supply retailers for youngsters to really feel a part of a darkish on-line group.

Though they provide a spot of refuge for a lot of to normalise their emotions, these pages encourage harmful self-destructive behaviour.

TALK: Specialists say we’d like to have extra conversations about mental well being

It comes after a current Youngsters’s Survey report discovered that greater than 100,000 youngsters aged 14 in the UK are self-harming, with one in 4 teenage women intentionally hurting themselves this yr.

The charity discovered that almost 1 / 4 of youngsters aged 10-17 stated they constantly heard jokes or feedback about different individuals’s our bodies or seems to be.

The Olive Press has discovered quite a few alarming and simply accessible Instagram pages devoted to self-harming.

Graphic pictures of deep wounds bleeding into sinks, tons of of scars brandishing a woman’s wrist and piles of razor blades are simply a few of the surprising footage found throughout the investigation.

A professional-anorexia website promotes itself as a ‘diet and lifestyle programme for beginners’ and even gives the choice to subscribe.

It additionally sends ideas on how to suppress starvation, provides suggestions of harmful slimming capsules and even provides recommendation on how to cover vomit.

An NSPCC spokesperson informed the Olive Press that social media platforms resembling Instagram ought to filter out content material which breaks its personal guidelines.

“Younger individuals on Instagram ought to by no means be uncovered to this type of dangerous and distressing content material.   

“We know from contacts to our Childline that many children are being driven to self-harm as a way of dealing with the pressures and demands of modern-day life,” she provides.

Just lately the NSPCC launched its ‘Wild West Web’ marketing campaign to name for stricter laws on social media networks and convey in a regulation to effective websites which aren’t adequately safeguarded.

Following the marketing campaign, the British authorities introduced security legal guidelines can be introduced in to hold youngsters protected on social media and forestall risks similar to on-line grooming.

“It’s vital that the Government holds its nerve and commits to an independent regulator with the powers to hold social networks to account,” provides the spokesperson.

However for Dr Hallin these terrifying pages are usually not a trigger however an impact of mental well being issues.

“Often an individual has already considered suicide or self-harming earlier than visiting these pages. They’re there for those who go in search of them.

“For example there aren’t more people cooking now we have the internet. But the problem is that now we have instructions online with hundreds of recipes available, showing you how to do it in an easier way.”

The Olive Press has reported the surprising findings to Instagram. We now have not acquired a response.

The social media argument is considerably of a two-pronged assault.

With extra proximity to celebrities than ever earlier than, it can be straightforward for impressionable teenagers to consider that re-touched photographs and collagen-injected lips are the norm.

They’re extra harmful than journal photograph shoots as a result of these photographs are uploaded in real-time from a cell phone, giving the impression this is actually their ‘perfect’ way of life and that individual seems to be flawless in actual life.

Just lately British TV presenter Jameela Jamil, waged conflict on celebrity-endorsed merchandise which declare to help weight reduction, reminiscent of the well-known Flat Tummy Tea.

Social media feeds are plagued with pictures of beautiful celebrities flaunting their toned abs crediting the ‘teatox’ for his or her enviable figures.  

Give us the low cost codes to your nutritionists, private cooks, private trainers, airbrushers and plastic surgeons you bloody liars.

— Jameela Jamil (@jameelajamil) November 26, 2018

“Give us the discount codes to your nutritionists, personal chefs, personal trainers, airbrushers and plastic surgeons you bloody liars,” tweeted Jamil, who stars in Netflix’s The Good Place.

Activist Jamil has been notably vocal about her personal teenage consuming dysfunction the place she ‘didn’t eat a meal for 3 years’ and slammed the media for the ‘weapon’ that is airbrushing.

In a bid to struggle again, the actress has launched the constructive marketing campaign ‘i weigh’, which inspires social media customers to publish photographs of themselves together with phrases which rejoice their expertise, skills, character traits, variations and disabilities – one thing which has gained a lot media consideration and public participation.

CAMPAIGN FOR CHANGE: Presenter and actress Jameela Jamil has launched ‘i weigh’ to promote constructive physique picture

Given all of this heavy info, undoubtedly it makes sobering studying, however there is so much parents can do to search for indicators of melancholy in their youngsters and safeguard their on-line exercise.

However the greatest piece of recommendation all specialists supply is to talk extra.

Costa del Sol Darkness Into Mild mental well being campaigner Michael O’Halloran advises teenagers to act once they discover a faculty good friend is appearing out of character.

“Do not walk away and think he/she is weird. Stop. Ask the question, ‘are you okay?’,” the expat tells the Olive Press, “sometimes that’s all that is needed to get the person in distress talking.”

There are numerous organisations making an influence in the UK and Spain providing nice help.

A gaggle, Teen Talk, is set to help younger individuals throughout the Costa del Sol with hopes of making new youth hubs, a helpline and group occasions from the new yr.

International motion Darkness Into Mild on the Costa del Sol and Costa Blanca promote suicide consciousness and self-harm prevention via fundraisers and walks.

The extra we begin to talk about and settle for mental well being, the extra we’ll break down stigmas.

Keep in mind, it’s okay not to be okay.


Anybody battling the points raised in this text can contact the following numbers:

  • Samaritans in Spain: 900 525 100
  • Ayuda a ninos y adolescentes en Riesgo (ANAR): 900 202 010
  • Worldwide Bipolar Basis, Suicide Hotline Spain: 914 590 050
  • Telefono de la esperanza: 717 003 717
  • Thoughts UK: +44 (zero)300 123 3393


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