Leeds ,

Child safeguarding top of the agenda at Leeds conference

Issued on behalf of the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board

People who work with children, young people and families across the city are in Leeds today to discuss the important issue of suicide and self-harm prevention and support.

The Leeds Safeguarding Children Board has organised their 4th annual conference with support from partner agencies, including Leeds City Council, the NHS, West Yorkshire Police, the probation service and Leeds schools.

Suicide and self-harm among children and young people is a concern both regionally and nationally and today’s conference will help practitioners, who work with children and families across the city, explore these themes and understand how Leeds as a city is working to tackle these issues.

“It is so important that those people who work with children and young people do not shy away from difficult issues like suicide and self-harm but are able to recognise, respond and be prepared to talk about it.

“It is an emerging issue locally and nationally so we want to help practitioners ensure they are well equipped to help those who are at risk and offer the support and guidance they need. This conference brings together experts from across the health and social care professions and offers practical and useful advice, which delegates can take away and put into practice in their own roles.”
Jane Held, independent chair of the Leeds Safeguarding Children Board

The conference aims to help delegates understand more about what self-harm actually is and some of the reasons behind it. It will also help delegates understand more about their role in prevention and support. As well as helping them gain a better understanding of support services available to those who are suffering or at risk.

The speakers at the Leeds Safeguarding Children Conference are:

  • Emma Holmes Director, The Market Place Project for Young People, Leeds, Suicide and Self Harm - Setting the scene: What is self-harm and suicide, what are the differences between self-harm and suicide and what young people at The Market Place tell us about self-harm and suicide?
  • Ruth Gordon Project Manager, Children and Maternity Services, Leeds CCGs, What’s happened in Leeds so far: The work that has taken place in Leeds to support young people and the professionals who work with them
  • Dawn Rees Independent Child Health and Mental Health Specialist, The National Picture: The prevalence of mental health issues in the under 18 population including national trends and an overview of recent national policy and anticipated changes from the new Government
  • Tom Miller Custodial Manager, HM Young Offenders Institute, Wetherby, Assessment Care in Custody and Teamwork.

The delegates will be invited to take part in a number of workshops which look at suicide and self-harm prevention and support in a variety of settings and from different view-points. The workshops include one led by young people focusing on suicide and self –harm from real experiences, and one which will discuss schools’ roles in helping young people who self-harm. Another will help delegates understand how young people use social media and its relationship to self-harm and suicide. There will also be a session on lessons learnt from previous serious case reviews and one on dealing with bereavement after suicide. The issue of mental health and its relationship to suicide and self-harm will also be explored along with sessions which will look to break the taboos around the issue.