08:31 Thursday 09 January 2014

Young folk feeling pressure in town

Written byJENNY MOODY

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A CHARITY providing emotional support for young people in Uttoxeter said it has seen ‘waves’ in cases of self-harm as a report reveals an increase.

Youth Emotional Support Services (YESS) said they have found many different reasons for young people self-harming or considering committing suicide after the adult social care team at Staffordshire County Council said the amount of referrals had increased across the board in 2012/13.

It found there had been a significant rise in self-harming cases and although the figure has not be revealed in the report, Roger Graham, who penned the document, said it included youngsters whose harming had been so severe it had required hospital treatment.

There had also been an increase in the amount of people accessing services that are required for more complex problems, which Mr Graham said were usually caused by ‘very complex social circumstances’.

Julie Bird, of YESS, said: “As a charity providing counselling and emotional support for young people we encounter many issues such as self harm, suicide idealation etc which we have noted tends to go in waves.

“This can be due to following a trend, what’s on the television or peer pressure, relationships etc.”

The news comes just days after a report by the Prince’s Trust revealed one in 10 young people in the UK felt they had ‘nothing to live for’, with many saying they had at some point felt suicidal.

One in four young people who were not in employment, education or training said they had self-harmed. The charity put the issue down to a lack of prospects and made an urgent call for more to be done to boost opportunities for young people.

However, as young people are still in full-time education when they use YESS this has not been a major problem for the youngsters.

Mrs Bird added: “The young people that we see are still very entrenched in education, either going to college, sixth form or on to university. Over the years that we have been operating we have noted that young people do not necessarily regard the option of employment at this time and we have seen a reduction in them finding full time jobs and apprenticeships.

“Job opportunities are very limited and young people struggle to find even part time employment in Uttoxeter. However, we have had no cases where this has lead to issues relating to self harm.

“The trend has changed now for young people to consider employment as an option at 16 and so we have found it doesn’t contribute to issues of self harm.

“The age group of 17 and above are starting to consider what options are available and in a few cases has lead to issues of anxiety and mild depression in regard for future options.”

The report has been published by the council ahead of a meeting of the Healthy Staffordshire select committee on Monday.

It was also due to be discussed at a meeting of an East Staffordshire Borough Council committee after members requested information about work taking place in the area to develop provision for youngsters.

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