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Howard and Byrne Solicitors, York - Criminal Defence Specialists

Kids speak out about depression, self harm and suicide

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12:01am 27th October 2011

1573 youngsters in Yorkshire have contacted Childline in the last year.

That's a hike of over 263% compared to the year before, when 598 kids got in touch.

The charity has put the rise down to the success of its online services, making it easier for children to get in touch.

The issues raised in the last 12 months include depression, self harm and suicide.

FURTHER DETAILS FROM CHILDLINE

As ChildLine celebrates its 25th birthday (30th October 2011), new figures show that the number of ChildLine contacts from children troubled by suicide, depression and self-harm has significantly increased since the introduction of its online service.

In 2010-11, the first full year in which the online service was available, counsellors dealt with over 30,000 online and phone enquiries combined on these three issues.

Of these, around 19,000 were online and 11,000 on the telephone.

This compares to the previous year where counsellors dealt with around 10,000 phone enquiries on the same issues.

For the same period (2010/11) the Yorkshire and the North East ChildLine base, located in Leeds counselled 1,573 children about depression, self harm and suicide.

Of these 1,020 contacts were online and 553 were over the phone.

This compares to the previous year where counsellors dealt with 598 phone enquiries on the same issues.

These latest statistics from the 24-hour free service show that overall children in the UK are nearly three times more likely to discuss self-harm via e-mail or online one to one ‘chat’ sessions than on the phone. And last year, more than 60 per cent of all counselling about suicide, depression and mental health issues took place online.

These three problems are now among the main reasons for children to seek online help from a ChildLine counsellor. But they do not feature in the top ten calls.

Christine Mellor, ChildLine area manager in Yorkshire and Humberside, said:

“Most children who contact us online are deeply troubled. It’s not yet clear if more children are suffering mental health problems, or if they simply find it easier to discuss them online.

“In many cases they will be struggling to cope with inner feelings they can’t control or understand. Others tell counsellors how they hurt themselves in an attempt to alleviate their pain. Sadly, for some, those feelings become so overwhelming they see no other option but to give up on life.

“By developing our online service we can reach out to more of these very troubled children who are struggling to cope with complex problems that are blighting their lives, and may not have contacted us without this new service.”

One 14-year-old girl, who made contact online, said:

“I feel like I need to take an overdose because it’s the least painful way. My life isn’t worth living. No one takes me seriously and I can’t talk to anyone.”

Another girl, aged 15, said she was terrified of ending up like her drug-addicted brother:

“Mum has kicked me out because she has a new boyfriend.”

“I have to live with my dad now but I don’t like it there because he’s scary and shouts at me. He tells me I was a mistake. I just don’t want to live anymore.”

Esther Rantzen CBE, Founder of ChildLine, said:

“This is a crucial milestone. We can reflect on what we’ve achieved, not just the huge numbers we have helped but the individual stories as well. ChildLine has provided hope in life for children deprived of hope and rescued them from isolation, despair, abuse, bullying and many other situations they thought would see no end.

“Eight suicidal children contact ChildLine every single day. The fact is, ChildLine saves lives and brings abusers to justice. But it could not do any of this without its dedicated supporters and volunteers. Without them, not one child would have been helped.

“It makes me especially proud as our 25th anniversary arrives that we can say, for the first time in ChildLine’s history, we can now answer almost every call the first time a child rings. But to continue this we need the support of the public and our volunteers. Money is always tight and every penny helps towards keeping this vital lifeline going.”

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