Northern Ireland

Childline NI suicidal child call most days last year

Young girl (model posed) Image copyright Science Photo Library
Image caption Childline said girls were more likely to seek its help over suicidal thoughts than boys

Childline received a call from children experiencing suicidal thoughts in Northern Ireland almost every day over the course of last year.

In its annual report, the charity said its local workers carried out a total of 349 counselling sessions with children at risk of suicide in 2015/16.

The callers considered most at risk were aged between 12 and 15.

Across the UK as whole, the number of calls from suicidal children almost doubled from the total five years ago.

'Pressures'

The figure show that youngsters plagued by suicidal thoughts contacted Childline 19,481 times throughout the UK last year - an average of one call every 30 minutes.

The charity also said girls were more likely to seek its help than boys.

Geraldine McConaghy, a senior supervisor with Childline Northern Ireland, said suicidal thoughts were a result of the "pressures that young people are under".

Image caption Childline's Geraldine McConaghy said the charity's staff in Northern Ireland were taking calls from suicidal children on an almost daily basis

"They might have poor mental health, they might be feeling pressure from school, pressure within the family," she said.

"When they come to us, what we've noticed is that, on average, one child in Northern Ireland contacts Childline each day who is feeling suicidal."

'Stressed'

One 17-year-old girl who contacted the charity last year said she was having difficulties coping at college and finding the lessons "a struggle".

"In the past, I've had to take some time off because I've been suffering with mental health problems," the caller told Childline staff.

"Sometimes I feel so stressed and useless; I just have to walk out.

"I sometimes feel like I want to die."

Childline Northern Ireland's service manager, Mairead Monds, said: "We need to understand that there are children and young people living in Northern Ireland that are experiencing significant mental health problems, self-esteem issues, isolation and feelings of worthlessness.

"These are children who have very little support and who very often feel that life is simply not worth living."

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