How do we avoid more suicides?
February 20, 2008

Blogbridgend By Steve Bennedik, Editor, Sky News Networked Media

What's been happening in Bridgend poses troubling questions for the local community and the national media. Just why have 17 young people taken their lives, and what can be done to avoid more deaths?

The authorities seem to be no clearer on what's behind the deaths, other than to admit that suicide has become an acceptable option for some young people rather than confront difficult issues.

Surely in Bridgend the time has now come to become more pro-active, get into the schools and colleges, involve parents, counsellors and health workers.

Maybe the most important challenge is to influence peer pressure. So much of a teenager's life goes on away from the eyes and ears of parents and teachers. Talking on the phone, texts, social networking sites, computer games and virtual reality. These are the years of new experiences, and they are not all good.

Teenagers have a vital part to play in supporting others through these difficult times, shaping views on how we deal with suffering and despair, and preventing more tragedies.

The media is an easy target to blame for what's been happening. But the majority of these people took their lives before journalists at the national press, radio and TV started reporting this story.

The media must cover what's happening responsibly, try and put it in context, and avoid straying into the damaging margins of speculation. They must also play their part in providing useful information for youngsters.

But they must certainly continue to report. What's the point in anyone sweeping this issue under the carpet? As my colleague Simon Bucks pointed out in an earlier blog: "Publicising bad things (whether it be suicide, drug taking, paedophilia or any number of horrors), could encourage a few people to try it themselves. Not reporting them would surely be worse."

Death is inevitable. But the untimely death of young people like 16-year-old Jenna Parry is especially poignant. Let's hope her death is the last of these puzzling and disturbing suicides.

Written by Sky News, February 20, 2008


Brian, it is not that people don't care. This subject is so dreadfully upsetting, that it is hard to know what to say. if you have ever lost someone you loved, you will know what I mean.

since only seven people have bothered to comment on this subject in a month I fear nobody really cares, a very sad reflection on our society today

Generally there has been a push to get childhood over with, replace "having fun" with "awareness of issues". Common sense, tolerance and fair-play has been replaced with micro-management and oversight . Life doesnt seem so much fun anymore.
Part of the problem lies in the current climate of attempted manipulation through fear and guilt (how often do politicos raise their favorite puppets "Terrorism" and "Global Warming" to secure funding or votes?). Take everything with a pinch of salt, relax a bit, and (as long as you aren't hurting anyone) ignore the carping I say..

Nicola comments "none of these young people appear to have shown major signs of depression". Nicola you need to read the articles more carefully! The information (from the inquest) on Jenna Fuller who committed suicide in Bridgend includes "She had also recently split up from her partner, had a history of self-harm and had previously attempted to take her life at least twice, by trying to take overdoses" Doesn't that suggest'major signs of depression'??
Some maybe copycat suicides, but for some may already be suicidal and the reported suicides may have simply acted as a final trigger.

However, I do think the tributes on websites ("gone too soon") may have increased the idea of suicide as a way to resolve problems e.g. that once you are dead everything is OK becos you will be appreciated and loved.

Surely tragic events like these show how crucial it is to invest in communities.
Facilities where everyone can go to have a chat meet friends and maybe get a warm drink whatever hour of the day(or night).
We spend plenty on wars,but not nearly enough on our communities.

This may be a bit far fetched but by the fact none of these young people appear to have shown major signs of depression,all appear to have died the same way and there doesnt appear to ba a social networking link, what if they are not doing it intentionally but someone within that age range within Bridgend is hypnotising/brainwashing them into commiting suicide. It just doesnt seem right that these people are suddenly comiting suicide with no friends or family seeing a change in behaviour etc!

Tragic as this topic does appear,no doubt the family tragedy will linger, unless [Zucherro] can assist those affected to say [I Won't Be Lonely Tonight].
Unless we all look within our close proximity, call on friends, and make them feel a part of life, then I for one cannot blame the media as social groups and the isolation many suffer therein are the root cause for such times of sorrow.
What I find ironic is that the Welsh countryside has by far some of the best views many a city slicker can only dream of, and perhaps a long walk at times of such sorrow mind matters will further bring a joyous smile for the continued enjoyment of healths pleasures.
So, chin up, and if you really need someone to talk to in confidence, how about take up badminton, squash, table tennis, cycling or even visit the gym where you can start the cycle of trust and meet friends like you have never before.
God Bless and all the very best.

I blame the rapid decline of family life. If a teenager doesn't feel wanted then maybe this is a real reason for "wanting out". Don't think it's unfair to say that family values have taken a nosedive in recent years and has only added to our new acurate name of Violent Britain.

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