Number of children seeking help for anxiety rising sharply, Childline charity warns

Charity helpline Childline recorded a 35 per cent increase in calls for help related to anxiety over the last year

Siobhan Fenton
Health Correspondent
Monday 31 October 2016 01:54 GMT
Children's charity NSPCC says children as young as eight have contacted them to seek help for the condition
Children's charity NSPCC says children as young as eight have contacted them to seek help for the condition

The number of children seeking help for anxiety has risen sharply, data from the NSPCC’s Childline service has suggested.

The helpline, which offers support and counseling for distressed children, said it answered 11,706 calls which mentioned anxiety in 2015-16. By comparison, 8,642 such calls had been answered in the previous year. This represents an increase of 35 per cent.

Children as young as eight contacted them to discuss their anxieties, on issues ranging to personal and family concerns to wider political issues such as the EU referendum.

The charity said the problem appears to be getting worse, with provisional figures showing that from April to September the facility dealt with almost 6,500 contacts where anxiety was cited as the main issue - an average of more than 1,000 a month.

A gender disparity emerges in the data, with girls seven times more likely to seek help than boys.

Recent released NHS data has suggested a shocking rise in recorded incidents of self-harm for young girls. The number of such incidents requiring hospital admission after administering a poison or other substance have risen by 42 per cent in the decade since 2005-6.

Similarly, the number of young girls administered as in-patients has close to quadrupled in the same period, rising by 385 per cent.

It is not known if the rise in recorded incidents represents a rise in real terms, or if patients are medical staff are now more likely to record an incident as related to self-harm due to raised awareness of mental health issues.

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