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Watford charity Signpost supports call for awareness-raising campaign for young suicide victims
A youth charity in Watford has spoken in support of plans for an awareness-raising campaign called for by the families of suicide victims.
The call to action follows the inquests last week of Carl Hutchins, 23, of Magpie Place, Watford, and Solomon Ngugi, 16, of Thorpe Crescent, Oxhey, which concluded both young men had taken their own lives. Just a few weeks earlier, a third inquest, into the death of 15-year-old Rebecca Hobbs, of Gable Close, Abbots Langley, concluded she had also taken her own life.
William Allen, manager of Watford’s Signpost youth counselling and support service, said: “The deaths are a tragedy and our hearts go out to their families. It is doubly tragic if young people take their lives feeling there is no-one to talk to. “We have been supporting young people in the area for 40 years and it is sad to think that in the age of the information superhighway, there are troubled young people who do not know we are here for them.”
To reinforce its on-going promotional work with secondary schools and GPs, Signpost is calling on people to spread the word about its free, professional, confidential services for 11 to 25 year-olds in crisis. As well as counselling, Signpost offers coaching, support groups and has previously run a Job Club. Later this year, the charity hopes to start a peer mentoring scheme and drop-in service.
Mr Allen added: “We are very keen to work with anyone interested in raising awareness of the support available for young people and look forward to hearing from any like-minded people.”
Speaking after Carl’s inquest last week, his mother, Marion Featherstone, said she felt her son may still be here if he had accessed professional help.
She said: “If he could have spoken to someone about how he was feeling, who knows what the outcome could have been.
“I want to continue Carl’s memory, but in a positive way that will help – if it can stop just one more young person from doing this.”
Jessica’s father Mark echoed those sentiments saying “there isn’t enough support out there for kids in crisis”.
“I wouldn’t want another family to have to endure what we have been through. It has been hell,” he said.
Watford MP Richard Harrington has expressed his concern and eagerness to help.
He said: “The families of Jessica, Solomon and Carl have shown tremendous bravery and I am proud to support them as they campaign to turn their losses into positive action to help those in similar situations.”
To contact Signpost, or find out more, call 01923 239495 or go to www.signpostcounselling.co.uk.
To contact Watford Samaritans call 01923 233333.
A video made to mark Signpost’s 40th anniversary.
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