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Hot Topic for August 2018 The Inspiring Teenager who is Saving Lives in Sunderland

Current Hot Topic for August 2018


The Inspiring Teenager who is Saving Lives in Sunderland

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The Inspiring Teenager who is Saving Lives in Sunderland

Background Story

Paige Hunter has written more than 40 heartfelt notes and attached them to the railings of the bridge, in a bid to offer support to people facing a mental health crisis. 
The messages penned by the East Durham College apprentice, from the Plains Farm area of the city include phrases such as: “Even though things are difficult, your life matters; you’re a shining light in a dark world, so just hold on”. 
Her efforts have caught the attention of local police and last week as the caring teenager returned to the bridge Chief Supt Sarah Pitt, of Northumbria Police, presented her with a framed commendation certificate on behalf of the force to recognise her selfless acts. 
“We thought it was important to applaud the work Paige has been doing and the help she has given those in Sunderland who are going through a mental health crisis,” said Chief Supt Pitt. 
“Paige has shown an incredible understanding of vulnerable people in need of support, and this is an innovative way to reach out to those in a dark place. 
“For somebody so young, Paige has shown a real maturity and we thought it would only be right to thank her personally. She should be 
very proud of herself. It is important that we encourage people to speak out and raise awareness of mental health issues and the impact on peoples’ lives.” 
After receiving the commendation, apprentice Paige, who works at Poundworld, said: “I wasn’t doing this for an award; it was just something that I wanted to do. My family are just proud of me. I just want to help people and I’ve been told it’s already helped save six lives. Since I put the messages up I’ve had a lot of comments from people. They’ve said it’s been really inspiring. It’s just amazing, the response it has had.” 


If you, or a friend or relative is at risk, advice from the Royal College of Psychiatrists is to make a ‘safety plan’. A safety plan can help organise your thoughts, so you get the right support at the times you need it. Make a simple list of the things you can do for yourself and the people who you would like to support you. You may want to ask someone else to help you put it together. You may find it helpful to include reminders of the good things in your life and things to look forward to in the future. It can include: names of supportive family and friends; a reminder of the people and things you love; information and contact details of professional and voluntary support; things to do if your suicidal thoughts are getting stronger or you can’t ignore them. What impact could this have in a mental health crisis? What other safeguards could be put in place? Imagine you were facing this, what positive reminders would you put on your safety plan?

According to the Office for National Statistics, for deaths registered in 2016 in the UK, persons aged 40 to 44 years had the highest suicide rate at 15.3 per 100,000. This age group also had the highest rate among males at 24.1 per 100,000, whilst females aged 50 to 54 years had the highest rate at 8.3 per 100,000. In fact, suicide is the single biggest killer of men under 44 in the UK - 84 take their own lives every week. A campaign, Project84, aims to raise awareness and sees sculptures placed on the top of a London Television Centre with each figure representing one of the men, each week on average, who ends their life. The campaign aims to raise awareness about the prevalence and devastating impact of male suicide in the UK and the fact that mental health issues affect people from all sections of society. Why do you think the rate could be higher in males? What is your opinion of these statistics?

A mental health crisis is when a person feels their mental health is at breaking point. For example, they might be experiencing: o suicidal feelings or self-harming behaviour o extreme anxiety or panic attacks o psychotic episodes (such as delusions, hallucinations, paranoia or hearing voices) o hypomania or mania o other behaviour that feels out of control, and is likely to endanger themselves or others They may have already been diagnosed with a mental health problem, such as schizophrenia, bipolar disorder or depression, or they might be going through their first episode of a diagnosable mental health problem. What action should be taken if you feel that someone may be in crisis? What is your opinion of the action that Paige Hunter took to save people in her own community?

The Suicide Act 1961 is an Act of the Parliament of the United Kingdom. It decriminalised the act of suicide in England and Wales so that those who failed in the attempt to kill themselves would no longer be prosecuted. Both euthanasia and assisted suicide are illegal under English law. What is your opinion on this? Do you think it should ever be a person’s right to choose? Why? How are the laws different in other countries?
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