Increase in youngsters contacting Childline about suicide

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The amount of Scottish youngsters who had thoughts about taking their own lives has risen by 17% over the last year

17th October 2017 by Gareth Jones 0 Comments

A record number of Scottish youngsters are contacting Childline to talk about suicide.

A total of 22,456 counselling sessions with children across Britain were delivered by the NSPCC’s helpline, with many of the youngsters having suicidal thoughts.

In Scotland, 1,095 sessions were held with children who were thinking about taking their own life. This compares to 934 in the previous year – a rise of 17%.

“We have never seen figures like these before and they are a blunt wake-up call,” said Childline’s Elaine Chalmers.

“We must face the painful reality that many young people across Scotland and the UK feel so overwhelmed by their problems they have considered taking their own, precious lives.”

Suicide is the third most common reason for girls to contact Childline, and the fifth most common for boys. The majority of children confided to counsellors online via the charity’s one-to-one chat service, or by email.

One 14-year-old girl told a counsellor: “I want to end it tonight. I’ve written a suicide note and have everything ready.”

Childline founder and president Esther Rantzen said: “When Childline launched over 30 years ago, I remember children usually felt suicidal because they were being hurt by someone.

“Now young people tell us they are overwhelmed by mental health issues taking them to the brink of suicide. We must discover why so many of our young people feel so isolated they turn to Childline because they believe no one else cares about them.”

The figures were revealed in Childline’s annual review – entitled Not Alone Anymore – which warns that the charity only has resources to help three quarters of youngsters who get in touch.

Volunteers to work on the helpline are being sought, to ensure that vital help is there for youngsters who need support.