Surge in young people receiving help from Childline for coping with anxiety

Across Britain and Northern Ireland the NSPCC's round-the-clock service delivered more than 20,000 sessions

COUNSELLING sessions for children suffering anxiety have almost doubled in two years.

Childline delivered 21,297 sessions to young people across Britain and Northern Ireland trying to deal with feelings of anxiety.

The charity today launched its annual review The Courage to Talk, which highlights how the NSPCC-supported service is playing an increasingly important role in the child mental health landscape.

The pressures of modern-day life, it said, were leaving some feeling overwhelmed.

Young people cited a several reasons why they may be feeling anxious including bullying, eating problems, relationships and issues with homework and exams.

Some also experienced anxiety alongside other mental health issues including depression and obsessive compulsive disorder.

At Childline's centres in Belfast and Foyle, 2,267 sessions were recorded in 2017/18 compared to 1,395 the previous year and 1,221 in 2015/16.

Neil Anderson, head of NSPCC Northern Ireland, said anxiety could be a crippling illness.

"It is deeply worrying that the number of counselling sessions we are delivering for this issue is rising so quickly," he said.

"Increasingly Childline is filling the gap left by our public mental health services, providing young people with a place they can go for round the clock help and advice."

Childline founder Esther Rantzen said she was increasingly concerned.

"We must ask why for some young people is the world becoming such a difficult place? Unless we find effective answers to this question we know the anxieties they suffer from can get worse, leading to suicidal thoughts or chronic mental health problems as they get older."

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