The number of children and teenagers seeking help for self-harm and suicidal thoughts has risen dramatically in the last year, according to a children's counselling service.
Worringly, self harm was mentioned in 47,000 ChildLine sessions last year – a shocking rise of 41 per cent in a year. It appears to be a more common problem among girls and the charity has also noticed a marked trend towards younger children self harming, with the biggest increase in numbers seen amongst 12-year-olds.
Of further concern is the fact that more than 29,000 children disclosed suicidal thoughts or feelings to counsellors – up by a third in a year. One girl told ChildLine, "I'm terrified of what I might do. I want to be gone and I've never felt this bad."
The Telegraph report that Esther Rantzen, founder of ChildLine, has said that problems such as depression and self-harm – once "almost unknown" amongst children – have come to replace sexual and physical abuse by adults as the most common issue reported to the service.
The Can I tell you something? report also highlighted an 87 per cent increase in contacts about cyber bullying, which young people say can lead to very serious feelings of isolation, low self-esteem and in a few cases, self harm and suicidal thoughts.
The number of children reporting racist bullying has also increased by 69 per cent since last year, with many complaining of being called a "terrorist" or a "bomber" and being told to "go back to where they came from".
Another child is quoted in the report as saying: "I am getting bullied at school...I feel so scared
and have been self-harming because I need a release. I'm a pathetic failure...I don't want the
scars but I need to cut and I need to suffer."
ChildLine provides a counselling service for children and young people up to the age of 19. Call free on 0800 1111.
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