Suicidal thoughts on rise amongst children

A bill passed through Holyrood has set ambitious targets to slash child poverty in Scotland.
A bill passed through Holyrood has set ambitious targets to slash child poverty in Scotland.

Childline held almost 1,100 counselling sessions with children in Scotland who harboured thoughts of taking their own lives.

This was a 17 per cent rise from the previous year, the charity’s 2016-17 annual review has revealed.

This is also higher than the UK rise of 15 per cent from 2015-16.

Nationally, the NSPCC’s round-the-clock service delivered 22,456 counselling sessions with children, the youngest aged 10, who were tormented by suicidal thoughts.

Childline volunteers held 2,061 counselling sessions – a nine per cent increase – with actively suicidal young people from across the UK, who had taken initial steps to take their own lives, such as writing a note, giving away meaningful items, or planning their death.

Head of Helplines for Childline in Scotland, Elaine Chalmers, said: “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. 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.”

Childline founder and president Esther Rantzen added: “Today’s tragic statistics prove that Childline is more crucial than ever and, for some, literally a lifeline.

“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.”

Childline is available 24/7on Freephone 0800 1111 or by contacting www.childline.org.uk. It offers a confidential service to any child.