Over 50,000 youngsters seek help from Childline

More than 50,000 young people turned to Childline last year for help with serious mental health issues - a rise of 8% over the past four years.

Data from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) shows youngsters aged 12 to 15 made up a third of all the counselling sessions, with girls almost seven times more likely to seek help than boys,

Childline saw a 36% rise over four years in young people needing help for depression and other disorders, while there was also a rise in the number of children and young people feeling suicidal.

One young person who called Childline said: "I'm struggling to cope with bipolar. One minute, I feel so low, like I'm trapped, and all I want to do is disappear.

"Then suddenly, I feel the complete opposite, and I'm really happy and I start thinking about everything in a really positive light. I feel like I push away everyone that tries to help, I tell them I hate them and blame them for everything. I just feel like I've turned into a monster."

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC, said he was "deeply concerned" by the figures.

"To ensure the next generation aren't left to deal with a mental health epidemic, there has to be a much more comprehensive network of professional support and treatment in place that is easily accessible for young people who are desperate for help to get their lives back on track," he said.

Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen said: "It's striking how many more children seem to be suffering serious mental health problems today than when we launched Childline 30 years ago.

"So many desperately unhappy children seem to be suffering suicidal thoughts, self-harming, becoming anxious and depressed, with many of them turning to Childline because no other support is available."

Childline said early signs of a serious mental health problem in children and young people include becoming withdrawn from friends and family, being tearful or irritable, sudden outbursts, and problems eating or sleeping.

The figures were released at the start of Children's Mental Health Week.



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