A Carlisle charity has welcomed a push from an MP in Cumbria to get age-appropriate suicide prevention education in schools.

Neil Hudson, the MP for Penrith and the Border, has again raised a campaign to get it added to the curriculum during a debate about Children’s Mental Health Week 2024, (week commencing February 4).

A recent NHS report found over a fifth of children aged eight to 16 had a probable mental disorder, raising to almost a quarter of 17–19-year-olds.

Dr Hudson said early intervention, in which children are taught how to spot mental illness in themselves and others before it becomes unmanageable.

He said he was inspired by 3 Dads Walking, a group of suicide-bereaved fathers pushing for more suicide awareness and prevention in schools.

The group, which includes Cumbrian Andy Airey, have met with the prime minister, the education secretary, and the mental health minister.

Their efforts, Dr Hudson said, have secured suicide prevention’s place in the ongoing review of relationships, sex, and health education (RSHE) guidance.

Also an advocate is Michael Boaden, the chief operating officer at Carlisle Eden Mind, as is the charity itself.

He said:  “At the end of the day, the young people who have these issues and struggle to open up or don’t have the outlets to do so get worse before they get better.

“The earlier we can get people to feel able to open up the better; I would be supportive of any initiative that would help develop the sense of looking out for people and listening.”

Such training would involve teaching children how to notice when someone is changing, feeling down, and what to do to support, which Mr Boaden said is often as simple as listening and engaging with the other person.

Dr Hudson said: "Working to secure suicide prevention in the ongoing RSHE curriculum review alongside the incredible 3 Dads Walking - it was a privilege to again raise awareness for young people's wellbeing in the House of Commons more broadly ahead of Children's Mental Health Week.

"I'm delighted to support Children's Mental Health Week 2024 as parents, charities, teachers - and most importantly young people - come together to shine a light on the importance of mental health."