"I hate my body and feel hopeless and frustrated by mental health services. It’s really difficult to talk to my parents as they just don’t understand. "
A 16-year-old who contacted Childline
Bullying and lack of understanding leave children feeling unsupported
Young people who contacted Childline said that transphobic bullying often stopped them from speaking out. When they were honest about their gender identity, many complained they received cruel abuse which left them feeling desperate. Homophobic bullying or transphobic abuse, was mentioned in 450 counselling sessions last year.
Young trans people told us that lengthy waiting times, not enough services, and NHS staff lacking understanding all contributed to their mental health problems, including suicidal thoughts. Those who found the courage to talk to others often felt ‘humiliated' or 'criticised’ by them, and adults often dismissed it as ‘a phase’.
"I came out as trans last year and wish I’d never said anything. People shout at me every day and call me stupid and ugly. I can’t cope anymore and I wish I could escape from everything"
A 15-year-old who contacted Childline
If a young trans person’s feelings are not recognised or supported by families and services this can lead to significant emotional distress. An open and supportive culture is key to helping a child come to terms with who they are. Making them feel ashamed or dismissing their concerns could lead to children developing mental and physical problems.