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Dozens of children with suicidal thoughts helped each day by UK Childline

By Jemma Crew, PA Social Affairs Correspondent

Dozens of children with suicidal thoughts are being supported by Childline each day, amid a rise in demand for counselling.

An average of 67 children are receiving help each day from Childline, which delivered 24,447 counselling sessions in 2018-19, the NSPCC said.

This equates to a 25% rise over the last three years, from 19,481 sessions in 2015-16.

Demand has particularly soared in children under 11 with suicidal feelings, with 653 sessions in 2018-19, compared with 349 in 2015-16 - an 87% increase.

Those who contacted the service, mainly teenagers, cited concerns around mental health, self-harm, family relationships and problems at school or college, the NSPCC said.

Girls were more likely to share, with 16,444 counselling sessions, compared with 3,319 for boys.

The NSPCC is launching a new campaign, Kids In Real Life, urging the public to help save a child's life.

Childline founder Esther Rantzen said: "When we launched Childline in 1986, the majority of calls were from young people describing pain caused by someone else, this could include abuse, bullying or neglect.

"But over the last 10 years we have seen a rise in the number of children describing their feelings of such intense unhappiness that they tell Childline they want to end their own lives.

"It is deeply disturbing that we have reached a point where, on average, 67 children a day are receiving help for suicidal thoughts and feelings.

"This new campaign highlights that many of these profoundly unhappy young people hide their feelings to those around them online, bottling up their suicidal thoughts which may become overwhelming.

"Worryingly we don't have the resources to be there for every child who needs us, which is why it is so important the public get behind the campaign and supports the NSPCC in their mission to be there for all the young people who reach out in their darkest hour."

The campaign aims to highlight the suffering of children which can easily be masked online behind "filters, feed and emojis".

The NSPCC is calling on people to show their support by donating to fund services such as Childline.

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