Childline contacted about suicide more than 600 times a year by children in Wales
Childline carried out more than 600 suicide counselling sessions involving children from Wales last year as the helpline dealt with record levels of calls on the issue across the UK.
The NSPCC’s round-the-clock service carried out an average of 53 suicide counselling sessions every day across the UK in 2015/16. There were 19,481 contacts from young people plagued with thoughts of ending their own lives – more than double the number five years ago.
A total of 614 calls and online contacts were received from children in Wales – an average of almost 12 a week.
Girls were six times more likely to contact Childline about suicidal thoughts and feelings than boys and those at most risk were aged between 12 and 15.
Children tended to feel more desperate in the winter months with a third calling Childline counsellors at night, according to the service’s annual report ‘It Turned Out Someone Did Care’ that is published today. Many of the calls dealt with by counsellors had to be referred to emergency services.
[miptheme_quote author=”A 14-year-old girl told counsellors in Prestatyn:” style=”boxquote text-left”]I feel so depressed and I don’t see the point of life anymore. I am being bullied and I have no-one there for me who I can talk to. Things at home aren’t easy either because I don’t feel like my parents understand me, so I can’t talk to them about how I’m feeling. I want to put an end to it all, but I don’t know if I am brave enough to carry it out?[/miptheme_quote]
Turbulent home life, abuse, school pressures, and mental health conditions were all major triggers for suicidal thoughts, with children as young as ten telling the NSPCC’s service how desperate they were.
There was a significant rise in the number of young people who spoke about their mental health, with a third of counselling sessions concentrating on the issue. It is well documented that abuse can trigger serious mental health issues.
In a recent NSPCC survey, almost two thirds of professionals working with abused children in Wales said tight criteria to access local NHS mental health services meant children were increasingly struggling to access vital help.
In the same survey 63% of professionals reported average waiting times of over five months for Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS).
The charity’s It’s Time campaign is calling on the Welsh Government to prioritise support for children who have been abused and neglected within the current CAMHS service improvement programme.
Head of NSPCC Cymru / Wales, Des Mannion, said:
“We have to understand why so many children are reaching such desperate emotional levels.
Obviously many feel worthless and cut off from support and it is up to all of us to help them feel that life is worth living again. It is not acceptable so many are shouldering serious mental health issues and feel they have no support.
We must listen to them, find out what is troubling them, and help them overcome their problems.”
Dame Esther Rantzen, President of Childline said:
“It is deeply disturbing that in the past year nearly 20,000 children and young people contacted Childline because they felt so deeply unhappy that many of them wanted to take their own lives.
I would urge any young person who feels this way to contact us. It really does make a difference to speak to someone who cares about you, and wants to listen.
And for the rest of us, it is crucial that we ask ourselves why children feel so lonely, and so desperate, that they have to turn to Childline for help and support.
The good news is that when they do, we know we are able to save lives, and protect children from acute pain.”
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