Helpline for troubled youngsters at Christmas

YOUNG people struggling with emotional difficulties over the festive period have been urged to share their problems.

Papyrus is a national charity which aims to provide support for young people and help reduce the number of young people who commit suicide, and has called on anyone who feels like they are struggling to contact them.

Jo McDonough, of Gate Helmsley, near Stamford Bridge, has campaigned to raise awareness of the charity since her husband, Chris, committed suicide in 2009.

She said: “Christmas is a difficult time for many people, for many different reasons. Not only with rising costs to meet and presents to buy, but it’s a time when we remember loved ones who have passed away.

“Things can sometimes become a little too much and overwhelming for us to handle. But there’s always someone there. Someone to listen and someone to help and well someone who just ‘gets it’.

Papyrus did this for me after losing my husband to depression over three years ago.”

To help raise awareness of Papyrus, Jo has taken part in a sponsored sky-dive, and completed the Great North Run on two occasions.

She said that no matter how bad things may seem in the moment, talking about problems can help, particularly over Christmas, and she urged anyone who felt overwhelmed to contact the charity.

Jo said: “Sometimes we just need to talk and the team at Papyrus are there to listen, just like they were for me. If only everyone contemplating suicide would open up and talk to someone they could see things are never that bad.”

Ged Flynn, chief executive of Papyrus, said: “We don’t want to spoil anyone’s fun but vulnerable young people can feel overcome by pressure to be happy and this can push them further into a dark place of quiet despair.

“They may be acting the life and soul of the party but secretly feeling a mess.

“Alcohol and recreational drugs can add to existing low mood and cause young people who are at risk of suicide to act impulsively. If you have the lightest concern that you or a young person you know could be feeling suicidal, it is vital that you seek help.”

HOPELineUK, the Papyrus national helpline, is open throughout the holidays, and the charity now has an email and text service. For more information, email pat@papyrus-uk.org or text 07786 209697.

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