THE sensitive handling of the suicide storyline in Coronation Street has been praised for raising the issue of suicide – and getting people to talk about it.

The prevention of young suicide charity Papyrus said it had its busiest day ever of young people asking for help after troubled Coronation Street character Aidan Connor killed himself.

That is why I am glad, that as chair of the National Assembly's Children, Young People and Education Committee we have called on the Welsh Government to make the emotional and mental wellbeing and resilience of our children and young people a national priority.

Mental health is a huge issue for children and young people in Wales.

Exam pressures, keeping up on social media and cyberbullying have become real problems.

It is estimated three children in an average size classroom have a mental health issue and that by the age of 14, half of all mental health problems will have begun.

Over the past three years Wales has seen a significant increase in self-harm admission to A&E departments.

In 2016, there were 16 suicides in the 15-19 age group.

That is the highest rate in five years and the second highest in 12 years.

In the same year, Childline Cymru recorded a 20 per cent increase in calls relating to suicide.

These figures are deeply concerning. But with the introduction of a new curriculum in Wales, we have a once-in-a-generation opportunity to embed emotional resilience and learning into our schools.

This is not just our view - other organisations, including the children's commissioner, the Samaritans and the police have also called for the curriculum to include mental health.

We are not suggesting teachers should become mental health experts.

But we would like to see everyone who cares, volunteers or works with children and young people trained in emotional and mental health awareness to help tackle issues of stigma, promote good mental health and enable signposting to support services where necessary.

We were told during our inquiry that a lot of teachers are afraid of saying the wrong thing.

That is why we want basic mental health training - including how to talk about suicide - to be part of initial teacher training and continuous professional development.

Both the Samaritans and Papyrus are absolutely clear that talking about suicide and self-harm actually reduces self-harm and suicide attempts and increases help-seeking behaviour.

We need to enable people - particularly those working with children and young people - to be comfortable having these difficult conversations.

Read Mind over Matter: A report on the step change needed in emotional and mental health support for children and young people in Wales at