Youth suicides lead to seminars

18th January 2013 at 00:00
Awareness-raising programme follows the deaths of two girls in care, as Emma Seith reports

One Sunday evening in October 2009, Niamh Lafferty and Georgia Rowe jumped hand in hand into the River Clyde from the Erskine Bridge. The sheriff's inquiry into the double suicide severely criticised the care home they were living in for failing to protect them.

While the number of looked-after children and young people who take their own lives is relatively low, there have been deaths in Scotland every year for more than a decade. Many more either contemplate suicide or harm themselves.

A programme of 14 seminars is to be run this year to raise awareness among senior managers in social work, health and education of the issues of self-harm and suicide. It will be delivered by the Centre for Excellence for Looked After Children in Scotland (CELCIS) and Choose Life at the request of the Scottish government. The programme also aims to improve communication between agencies and provide guidance and protocols that can be embedded into everyday practice.

The format for all events will be similar but all will be tailored to the specific issues for that area. Each will have an experienced chairperson who is known locally or nationally. The seminars will challenge managers to make sure the policy and guidance in their agency is up to date and consider how staff and carers will know of it.

According to CELCIS, children and young people have an increased vulnerability to suicide attempts when incidents are in the news. Other factors that can increase risk, identified in Suicide prevention for looked after children and young people, a practice guide published by the care inspectorate, include:

- Loneliness and a lack of trusted friends.

- Substance misuse and alcohol problems within the family.

- Life crises such as bereavement or issues relating to sexual orientation.

- Mental health disorder.

To access the guide, go to: bit.lyVGlfmA.

Log-in as an existing print or digital subscriber

Forgotten your subscriber ID?


To access this content and the full TES archive, subscribe now.

View subscriber offers


Get TES online and delivered to your door – for less than the price of a coffee

Save 33% off the cover price with this great subscription offer. Every copy delivered to your door by first-class post, plus full access to TES online and the TES app for just £1.90 per week.
Subscribers also enjoy a range of fantastic offers and benefits worth over £270:

  • Discounts off TES Institute courses
  • Access over 200,000 articles in the TES online archive
  • Free Tastecard membership worth £79.99
  • Discounts with Zipcar,, Virgin Wines and other partners
Order your low-cost subscription today