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Last Updated: Friday, 20 July 2007, 10:37 GMT 11:37 UK
'Desperate concern' over suicides
Depression (generic)
There are 'major concerns' for young men across Wales
A coroner has said he is "desperately concerned" about the number of young men committing suicide in his area.

Philip Walters said the number of deaths in Bridgend, Rhondda Cynon Taf and Merthyr Tydfil had "increased substantially" over the last few years.

Over an 11-month period in 2006, he said he dealt with nearly one case a week.

Mr Walters, who has been the area's coroner for 25 years, said of those the vast majority were men under 30.

Latest figures show suicide rates across Wales have been going down slightly in recent years, but Mr Walters said the rise in suicide in young men was a "nationwide phenomenon".

There doesn't appear to be any particular reason why, and it just happens out of the blue
Philip Walters, coroner

He said: "I think with young men, you've got to be desperately concerned.

"It's quite a high percentage and it seems to be higher in the valleys than in other parts of Wales."

Mr Walters said the most difficult question was why young men were committing suicide.

"It's the coroner's duty to find out how, and that's not terribly difficult, why is a far more complex situation," he said.

The coroner explained that in some cases "discussions or arguments" may have occurred prior to the event, but in others there was "no logic".

Our message is that suicide is not inevitable if you are feeling suicidal.
Anne Parry, Papyrus

"There doesn't appear to be any particular reason why, and it just happens out of the blue, and I think that is as great a concern to us as anything."

The coroner's comments have been echoed by the Samaritans in Wales, who are in the process of organising awareness campaign in those communities.

The organisation's Joanna Greenslade said: "I'm not at all surprised. It is a problem and it's a very large problem throughout Wales.

"We've looked at figures in Neath and Port Talbot area and again they're very high. We do have a major concern for young men. We're very worried about it."

Feelings of despair and hopelessness are the main factors in suicide, according to Anne Parry, chair of Papyrus, a charity dedicated to preventing suicide of young people.

She said key to dealing with the issue was encouraging young men to talk about their emotions, adding: "Our message is that suicide is not inevitable if you are feeling suicidal.

"We're trying to tell people that there is hope out there and that they must talk about it and they must seek help and we're not just talking statutory services, help from friends and family too."


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"We do know that men find it very difficult to share their feelings"



SEE ALSO
Suicide risk 'lowest since 1973'
10 Mar 05 |  England

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