Childline reports surge in number of children needing help with anxiety
There has been a sharp rise in the number of children seeking help for anxiety, according to a charity.
Childline says it is supporting more young people than ever before as the pressures of modern life leave both children and teenagers feeling overwhelmed.
Launching its annual review 'The Courage to Talk' the organisation revealed that it has carried out 3,762 counselling sessions in the past year from its south east base - almost double the figure from two years ago (1,965).
Scroll down to hear Hollie's story
More than 88% of the support provided was given to girls struggling to cope with growing up in the UK.
Children and teenagers cite a range of reasons why they may be feeling anxious, says Childline, including bullying and cyber-bullying, eating problems, issues surrounding relationships and concerns with homework and exams.
Nationally, there were 21,297 counselling sessions delivered to young people trying to deal with feelings of anxiety in 2017/18.
Kent student Hollie is one young person to have sought support from Childline for anxiety. Having suffered with it for most of her life, things got progressively worse after a panic attack in year 10, until she was eventually admitted to a clinic. She first contacted Childline from her hospital room the night she had tried to kill herself.
Through counselling sessions Hollie, now 21, got help and support for her anxiety, which she is now managing, and she is currently studying applied arts.
She said: "I'd worry about getting into trouble at school or saying the wrong thing to people.
"I decided to call Childline because I was absolutely desperate for help."
In the last year Childline delivered a total of 106,037 counselling sessions to young people experiencing problems with their mental and emotional health and wellbeing.
The figures reveal, says the charity, the 'important role' it is playing in the child mental health landscape, claiming that less than a third of young people referred to child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) receive treatment within 12 months.
The Government recently announced a raft of proposals to tackle the problem, with the focus being on school-based support for young people. But Childline says most children will feel no impact as the changes are rolled-out gradually and will only cover a quarter of the country by 2022/23.
Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEO, said: “Anxiety can be a crippling illness and it is deeply worrying that the number of counselling sessions we are delivering for this issue is rising so quickly. "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.”
To learn more about the services and support offered by Childline visit www.childline.org.uk