29 June 2016
A report has made 39 recommendations to improve the support and services to children and young people in Jersey.
Improving the support to children and young people at risk of suicide - a thematic review, carried out by an independent specialist, has been published by the Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Partnership Boards.
Suicide and self harm are major health problems in adolescents, with rates of self harm being high in the teenage years and suicide being the third most common cause of death in male adolescents worldwide.
Today’s (29 June 2016) report looks at what’s in place and what needs to be done to improve the support to children and young people who are risk of suicide in Jersey, and identifies common themes which will improve understanding of the issues that might lead a young person to take their own life.
27 of the 39 recommendations for improvements have been carried out. 33 of these recommendations were made in earlier serious case reviews. Of the remaining 12 outstanding recommendations, six are new, and the remaining require longer term structural changes and investment.
The report also highlights a concern about staffing levels and recruitment at the Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS). CAMHS is continuing to implement recommendations from an action plan and has received significant investment recently. As part of this, six new posts have been agreed and are either in place or being recruited to. These include two new roles to respond to urgent requests for service, therapists, and primary mental health workers.
The report concludes that significant efforts have been made across the Health and Social Services Department, including Children’s Services, and CAMHS, and the Education Department in Jersey, to improve the support available to young people and their families, in order to reduce the risk of suicide.
Completed improvements include
- Comprehensive training programme on reducing suicide risk started
- Suicide Prevention Steering Group launched the Prevention of Suicide Framework for Action, alongside the Mental Health Strategy
- More and improved information and support on coping with issues surrounding suicide on www.gov.je called ‘Help is at Hand’
- Continued raising of awareness and reduction of stigma across communities
- The continued scrutiny of improvements to services by the Safeguarding Children Partnership Board
Other improvements carried out include new guidance to the Honorary Police, better flagging of children on the child protection register, improved sharing of information between services, and bespoke safeguarding training for CAMHS.
The Independent Chair of the Safeguarding Partnership Boards, Glenys Johnston OBE said “The loss of any young person is a tragedy, and devastating to both the family and friends of an individual, and to the wider communities they were part of.
“This report is clear about what work has already happened and what else needs to be done to ensure Jersey’s services are as effective as they can be in this area. Not all deaths are avoidable, but we have to do everything we can to ensure a range of support is in place for young people, their families and their friends, and that includes helping young people speak out when they’re worried about a friend or someone they know.”