05/02/2014 16:55 GMT | Updated 22/05/2015 10:12 BST

ChildLine 'Too Stretched' To Take Calls

Esther Rantzen in the Childline offices in Belfast where she met some of the Charity's counselling volunteers.

The charity ChildLine is said to be 'too stretched' to take calls as 1.5million worried children try to contact its helpline every year.

The Express reports that 'ten of thousands of calls' from desperate children are going unanswered because of a shortage of volunteer counsellors.

The charity was founded in 1986 by TV personality and presenter Esther Rantzen. In 2006, it joined forces with the NSPCC.

Esther told the Express that modern issues like cyber bullying were exacerbating the need for children to turn to the service for help. Last year nearly 50,000 children contacted the charity just about self-harm, a 41 per cent rise on the previous year.

"There are so many problems for children today with cyber bulling, sexting and grooming. Many more are coming to us suicidal and depressed," she said.

ChildLine counsellor and children's TV presenter Anna Williamson said the current shortage was very worrying and that the calls could be 'a matter of life or death'.

The NSPCC have set up a page for anyone interested in volunteering as a counsellor.