Bishop of Lichfield calls for greater support of vulnerable young people in preventing suicide

The Bishop of Lichfield spoke during Lord Eames’ debate on reducing the levels of suicide among young people in the United Kingdom. He focused his remarks on the relationship between low levels of self-worth amongst young people as a factor that contributes to suicidal thoughts. He also raised particular concerns about the risks of bullying or coercion that young people with disabilities face, specifically as debates about assisted suicide become more widespread, and the need to support children who are refugees or asylum seekers and particularly vulnerable due to a lack of adequate mental health care.

The Lord Bishop of Lichfield: My Lords, I, too, thank the noble and right reverend Lord, Lord Eames, for initiating this debate.

The Association for Young People’s Health recently published its key data on adolescence. At present, the statistics show that the levels of self-harm are relatively stable, although for such a sensitive topic there is likely to be low reporting. It is clear that girls are at least three times more likely to self-harm than boys; on the other hand, suicide is much more prevalent among young males, particularly those aged between 20 and 24. This coincides with the evidence from ChildLine. Numbers have fallen fractionally in more recent years but the report questions whether this will continue.

How this correlates with child well-being needs careful consideration. We all remember the United Nations report about the unhappiness of children in this country. ChildLine reports that the number of children contacting it about suicidal feelings has risen for the third year running, including a rise of 33% in the last year. Overall, child well-being in the UK, according to the United Nations, has improved from 21st out of 21 to 16th out of 29 countries. Economic reasons have been stated and there is much correlation with the commentary from the Association for Young People’s Health. Continue reading “Bishop of Lichfield calls for greater support of vulnerable young people in preventing suicide”

Bishop of Chester cautions against changes to law on assisted suicide

“The risks inherent in legalising assisted suicide still outweigh the benefits that might accrue” – Bishop of Chester

On 12th December 2013, the Bishop of Chester spoke in Lord Dubs’ debate on patient choice at the end of life, calling on the Government to resist changing the law to legalise assisted suicide. The Bishop of Sheffield also made his maiden speech in the debate, which can be read here.

14.03 Bishop of ChesterThe Lord Bishop of Chester: My Lords, I join other Members of the House in welcoming the reinforcements to the Bishops’ Benches. I will make three brief points in my contribution, the first of which does not have a direct connection with assisted suicide. We typically have long waiting lists today for transplantation surgery in this country, due to an absence of an adequate supply of donated organs. I hope that we will do as much as we can, and more, to encourage people to carry organ donation consent cards and to engender a culture in society in which transplantation and donation of organs are encouraged, especially for those whose death comes in an untimely and unchosen way. This is a matter of choice at the point of death, as are the things that we are discussing in the main part of this debate.

Continue reading “Bishop of Chester cautions against changes to law on assisted suicide”

Bishop of Sheffield makes maiden speech in debate on end of life choices

“The ministry of chaplains in our hospitals and hospices remains a vital part of end-of-life care. Chaplains are present to minister to those of all faiths and of none. They are drawn, of course, from every faith. They are present to offer spiritual support to the dying and to the bereaved, to patients and staff. They are a vital part of the team in end-of-life care as a specialist resource, as experts able to offer training to colleagues and as a point of referral in moments of crisis” – The Bishop of Sheffield

On 12th December 2013, the Bishop of Sheffield made his maiden speech in a debate on patient choice at the end of life. The Bishop of Chester also spoke in the debate, and his speech can be read here.

14.03.27 Bishop of SheffieldLord Bishop of Sheffield: My Lords, I must begin by thanking your Lordships for the warmth of welcome extended to me here. Thank you also to the staff for their guidance and help. I look forward very much to serving with you in this House and count it an immense privilege to be here. Continue reading “Bishop of Sheffield makes maiden speech in debate on end of life choices”

Bishop of Wakefield takes part in debate on assisted suicide

On 5th December 2013, the Bishop of Wakefield took part in a debate on assisted suicide. The Bishop of Derby also spoke during the debate – his comments can be read here.

Bishop Stephen Platten
Bishop Stephen Platten

The Lord Bishop of Wakefield: My Lords, I imagine that after clinicians, clergy—of a variety of faiths—are those who have the most frequent experience of being alongside those who are terminally ill and dying. That gives clergy no privilege in our opinions, but it does offer us a unique set of experiences in the care and support of the dying.

Part of that support, from all concerned in such caring, is reassurance to those who are terminally ill. The framing of the present law is integral to such reassurance. Fears of being a family burden, uncertainty about one’s own self-worth or society’s pressures on limited resources can undermine the feelings of the terminally ill. That calls out of us compassion. Choice is a two-edged sword.

Continue reading “Bishop of Wakefield takes part in debate on assisted suicide”

Bishop of Derby speaks during debate on assisted suicide

On 5th December 2013, the Bishop of Derby spoke during a debate on assisted suicide. The Bishop of Wakefield also spoke in the debate – his speech can be read here.

Bishop of DerbyThe Lord Bishop of Derby: My Lords, two quotations. John Donne:

“No man is an island”.

and the Book of Job:

“The Lord gives and the Lord takes away”.

Continue reading “Bishop of Derby speaks during debate on assisted suicide”

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