Figures released as Child Helplines from across the world hold summit in London
Today we're publishing "On the Edge", a report from ChildLine that reveals disturbing trends in the increased unhappiness of young people in Britain.
34,517 counselling sessions were held by ChildLine (UK) in 2013/14 with children who talked about suicidal thoughts – a 117% increase since 2010/11. Nearly 6,000 of these children had told a counsellor that they had previously attempted suicide - a 43% increase on the year before. The vast majority of these children had not revealed their feelings to anyone else. ChildLine is urging these young people not to feel fearful or ashamed to tell others of their feelings.
The figures have been released to coincide with the start of Child Helpline Internationals' (CHI) biannual conference, which is being hosted for the first time in the UK (London) and includes over 200 delegates from child helpline's across the world.
Tackling and understanding the mental health issues young people face
Having shared and discussed the On the Edge study's findings with experts in mental health such as Young Minds and PAPYRUS, ChildLine and the NSPCC recommend a series of initiatives to help tackle and understand the emerging mental health issues young people face. This includes reminding them that they can contact ChildLine by phone on 0800 1111 or online for free, and at any time of day or night.
Additional advice covers:
- recommendations to help parents, carers, and professionals in providing guidance to young people supporting friends and family who are self-harming or feeling suicidal.
- giving young people a greater involvement in designing and improving local Child & Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS), with consideration given to enhanced online support services that can be accessed at any time, and in the way young people want.
- urging the Government to launch a new prevalence study into the mental health of children and young people in England and Wales, as the previous study, completed in 2004, pre-dates much of the internet as it is known today.
- supporting the call to the Ministry of Justice to review the "beyond all reasonable doubt" burden of proof required for a suicide verdict in England and Wales – which is currently the same needed for crimes such as murder. The charities believe lowering this is imperative to be able to provide a more accurate figure for the scale of suicide. This will encourage a more open conversation about how to better prevent suicide and support young people.