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Christian charity highlights Church's role with suicide after new report

by Tola Mbakwe

A new report shows that suicide rates in Britain are at a seven year low.  According to the Office of National Statistics there were 202 fewer suicides registered in 2016 than in 2015. It equates to 5,688 deaths last year.

Rachel Newham, director of Christian mental health charity Think twice, encouraged the Church do its part in continuing to keep suicide on the decline.

She told Premier: "We should make sure we don't avoid the tricky passage in the Bible...there's a lot of hope for people who feel suicidal in the Bible.

"There are examples found in Kings when Elijah flees to the mountain and says 'take my life I've had enough' and also Paul's encounter with the jailer.

"I think it's a really important we're able to offer hope, and a distinctive Christian hope in the face of suicide."

She said the Church could "change the language we use around suicide."

 "When we use criminal language such as 'committed suicide' or 'failed suicide attempt' we perpetuate the stigma and make it harder to talk about," she said.

While the new figures showed a decrease in suicide overall, it's showed an increase in suicide among women in their 20s. Figures revealed there were 106 deaths, the first time it's reached the more than 100 since 1992.

Newham suggested that social media as well as life's pressures have a part to play.

"The pressure of life is really difficult for young women at the moment. Obviously there's the ever-presence of body issues but also the online world makes everything worse and amplifies these feelings".

"We all know that when we out stuff on Instagram we put the best version of ourselves out there, but when we're  judging other people, often we don't see that in the same way.

"There's also a real pressure on young women to be everything; to have a career, to have a partner, to have a family.

"I think it's really important for young women to try to take the pressure off themselves a little bit and know they don't have to be everything to everybody."

Listen to Rachel Newham speaking with Premier's Tola Mbakwe here:

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