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Charity boss urges young people not to hide their feelings

A suicide-prevention charity has urged young people not to “mask” their feelings, but to instead talk about any fears or concerns exacerbated by the coronavirus pandemic.

Papyrus has launched its latest campaign in the hope it will provoke a response among young people and others who are concerned for someone who may be having suicidal thoughts.

Chief executive Ged Flynn said: “For some, masks are seen as protective – for others, masks are an obstacle or a barrier.

“Young people often find it difficult to express their emotions, especially when their circumstances change.

“Lockdown is a good example of how a sudden change can have a huge impact on young people.

“Staying at home, working or learning in a new environment, having less privacy and having less access to friends, families and colleagues, all mitigate against feeling safe and emotionally well.

“I would urge us all to help young people navigate the new normal and not to wait for them to struggle or suffer.

“There are many hidden faces of despair out there and they need to know there is someone to talk to and that help is available.”

The campaign comes amid concerns over the mental health of people affected by the Covid-19 crisis, with some evidence that suicides increased in the US during the 1918 flu pandemic, and among older people in Hong Kong during the Sars epidemic in the early 2000s.

On Monday, the Duke of Cambridge joined famous football personalities such as David Beckham, Steph Houghton, Tyrone Mings and Carlo Ancelotti at the launch of a bid to create a “mentally healthy culture” in the sport and prioritise the psychological wellbeing of everyone involved.

– Papyrus’s confidential Hopeline UK service is available by ringing 0800 068 4141, texting 07860 039967 or by email to [email protected]

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