Merseyside Youth Association Ltd

Merseyside Youth Association (MYA) provides innovative, practical and positive support services to children and young people. Established in 1890 MYA draws on an enormous depth of experience and knowledge whilst remaining dynamic and fresh in its approach. MYA delivers a wide range of early intervention and prevention services, workforce development and infrastructure support across Merseyside, one of the most economically and socially deprived areas of the country.

Working with 5000 young people a year, we provide projects to enable young people to:

– Be healthy

– Be Active

– Be Creative

– Be Included

– Be Ready

How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?

MYA run a program called ‘How Serious is Serious?’ – suicide prevention training for professionals working with young people. The ‘How Serious is Serious’ suicide prevention model has been developed by Merseyside Youth Association’s RAISE team, working in partnership with Wirral CAMHS and YPAS. The programme’s content has been guided by parents of young people who have died by suicide, children and young people’s participation groups and mental health professionals. Its development was funded by the Liverpool CDOP (Child Death Overview Panel) in response to growing concerns about the number of children and young people who end up looking to suicide as the only answer to the difficulties they are facing.

Over 200 schoolchildren die through suicide every year in the UK. They leave behind parents, siblings, aunts, uncles, grandparents, friends and professionals who might ask themselves for the rest of their lives, “Is there something I could have done differently? Is there something I could have done?” This training has been designed to help professionals working with children and young people to spot the signs of a young person at risk of suicide and, more importantly, to build confidence in professionals to talk openly with young people about suicide.

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What are your current priorities?

Our current priorities are to raise awareness in the children and young people’s workforce about having conversations with children and young people, and ensuring staff have the right skills and knowledge to be able to have appropriate conversations and know where to signpost young people to.

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What challenges are you currently facing?

The challenges we currently face are our staff across the Liverpool City Region feeling uncertain if they can raise the issue of suicide for fear they might trigger mental distress. Our campaign is aiming to tackle this stigma and encourage the workforce to talk about this appropriately.

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