15% rise in Childline counselling sessions about suicide

Last year Childline carried out an average of 62 suicide counselling sessions a day.

22,456 counselling sessions were delivered to young people dealing with thoughts of ending their own lives - a rise of 15% compared to the previous year. 

It's revealed in the 2016/17 Childline annual review, Not Alone Anymore, that children as young as 10 got in touch about having suicidal thoughts and feelings.

Childline is now calling for more people to volunteer as counsellors and potentially help save young people's lives.

"I've been feeling down since a family member passed away. I've been self-harming and drinking a lot as well. I know it's bad but I'd rather be numb than sober. I often feel like dying is the only way to stop feeling like this."
15-year-old boy

Mental health issues among top concerns for young people

The top 3 additional concerns mentioned during suicide counselling sessions were:

    • mental health issues
    • family relationships
    • self-harm.

Suicide is the third most common reason for girls to contact Childline, and the fifth most common for boys.

"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. I would urge members of the public to consider becoming a Childline volunteer. Anyone who can lend a few hours to this vital service could end up saving a child’s life."
Esther Rantzen / President of Childline

Young people were most likely to be counselled about suicidal thoughts and feelings on Monday evenings.

Most children spoke to counsellors online, via Childline's 1-2-1 chat service, or by email.

Peter Wanless, NSPCC Chief Executive

NSPCC Chief Executive, Peter Wanless, said:
"We must face the painful reality that many young people feel so overwhelmed by their problems they have considered taking their own, precious lives. We have never seen figures like these before and they are a blunt wake up call."

"Young people must know life is worth living and they can lead a life rich in possibilities and happiness. When they are suffering from problems it's vital they get the right help swiftly before these issues snowball into suicidal feelings or even attempts to end their lives. I would urge any child who is feeling this way to take that first step and talk to Childline; our counsellors are always there for them."

Contact our press office

Contact our national and regional press offices for enquiries about our work or to request interviews.

020 7825 2514

Contact our press office