UK
04/02/2016 12:36 GMT | Updated 04/02/2016 12:59 GMT

Child Suicide Rates 'National Scandal', Charities Say While Calling For Taboo To Be Broken Down

Nearly 100 children aged 10 to 14 killed themselves in the UK in the past decade in what charities have called a "national scandal".

The figures, published for the first time by the Office of National Statistics on Thursday, show that 98 children under 15 have killed themselves in the UK from 2005 to 2014. Of these, 59 were boys and 39 were girls.

Charities called for the taboo of talking about suicide to be broken down.

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Ged Flynn, the chief executive of the Papyrus Prevention Of Young Suicide charity, told the Press Association: "We have 'hidden' the fact that children and young people die this way because it is so flipping painful for us.

"It is painful and toxic to think about it, so we hide it and hope it goes away. Today we can see it is not going away.

"It is a national scandal and we have to talk about it."

He said experts have known for some time that depression starts for some at an early age, and there are a "plethora of reasons" why children take their own lives.

But the issue threaded through all cases is that the children feel "trapped or ashamed" by whatever is driving their suicidal thoughts.

He said the onus should not always be on the suicidal person to have to seek help, and urged those worried about someone to simply ask them how they are.

Mr Flynn said: "We think by asking them we will cause the problem so we keep quiet about it. But by asking you release that head of steam and enable that person who is suicidal to talk about it."

An NSPCC spokesman said: "Our ChildLine service has seen a huge increase in calls from desperately unhappy children.

"Last year more than half of the young people we referred to other agencies were suicidal.

"No child should ever feel so helpless that they find themselves in this awful situation. We all have a part to play in helping a young person before they reach crisis point. It is vital that children can speak up and any young person who wants to talk can call ChildLine on 08001111."

Children under 10 are not recognised in suicide figures and therefore not included.

  • For confidential support and advice you can also contact the Papyrus charity's helpline on 0800 0684141
  • Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 (UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)
  • Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393
  • Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk
  • HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41