The topic of suicide is always a sensitive one, even more so if those involved in the matter are children.
Today, however, we report how a spate of teenage suicides in South Yorkshire – including tragedies among pupils at one school – have led to Rotherham Council launching an independent review.
The recommendations of the review are expected to be approved at a council meeting next week.
The review was sparked following two suicides and a further self-harm incident involving pupils from Wickersley School and Sports College, on Bawtry Road, Wickersley.
Rotherham Council decided against launching a Serious Case Review following the deaths but an independent report was commissioned.
The report noted some areas of good practice, with ‘overwhelmingly positive feedback’ for the police officers who dealt with bereaved families.
But concerns were raised that an investigation into potential links between suicides should have ‘commenced much earlier’, while there was no evidence of the school making formal communication with parents, students or other local schools about the events.
The report said there had been a ‘difference of opinion’ between council bosses and the school’s headteacher in how the incidents should be responded to.
The Star and other media organisations have been critical of Rotherham Council over a number of issues recently.
On this we applaud their response and we make no apology for reporting on a subject such as this which is very much in the public domain.
It is important that as much is being done as possible to understand why these tragic events took place.
Unfortunately it is often impossible to know why someone has taken their life and families and friends are left with many questions unanswered.
It must be an unbelievably traumatic experience and one that counsellors are trained to help with.
There are also unanswered questions in how the school dealt with deaths of Truman Edley and Oliver King.
It is claimed students ‘had been told not to talk about it’.
Let is hope the review and subsequent recommendations set new standards in how this very sensitive subject is dealt with in the future.