'Worrying' | 

Rise in children reporting suicidal thoughts to Childline

The service typically deals with up to 800 calls per day, with the number of callers swiftly rising since the pandemic began last year
Stock image

Stock image

Neasa Cumiskey

Children’s counselling support service Childline has reported a surge in young callers experiencing suicidal thoughts in recent weeks amid a growing sense of anxiety about life after the pandemic.

Over the past month, between 25 and 30 children a week have been contacting the 24-hour service expressing suicidal feelings over the past month, according to the Irish Examiner.

The service typically deals with up to 800 calls per day, with the number of callers swiftly rising since the pandemic began last year.

Most of the calls regarding suicidal ideation have been made by young girls while overall, more boys make use of Childline’s services.

Childline CEO John Church said that he while hopes the spike in children ringing the service with suicidal thoughts is an anomaly, the figures are concerning.

“There has been quite an increase in self-harm and suicidal ideation, which would be very worrying,” he said.

“It has gone from 0.5pc to 2.5pc of calls. That is a trend in the last few weeks. We hope it's just a blip. It's enough to be concerned about.

“That's 25 to 30 calls a week relating to suicide. That's 25 to 30 children concerned about it, having thoughts about suicide.”

Mr Church said that the types of calls that Childline has received during that the year has changed.

“At the very start of Covid there were different types of calls,” he explained.

“Children were concerned about getting Covid, about their family getting Covid, their grandparents. Next March we will be two years into this and you see that stress and strain impact on children.

“There are an awful lot more calls about anxiety. That is very, very high. Anxiety about life, about the future, being locked down, studying for exams, not knowing about their future.”

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can freephone the Samaritans 24 hours a day for confidential support at 116 123.


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