1 Child Every 6 Mins Counselled Over Mental Health

Almost 100 children suffering from mental health problems caused by abuse contacted Childline every week last year, new figures show.

The NSPCC's free, 24-hour service undertook 85,000 counselling sessions in 2014-2015 - one every six minutes - for youngsters with mental health problems, it says in its annual review.

More than 5,000 of those had also sought help for physical or sexual abuse and one in ten calls to the confidential service was about abuse.

Childline also said that "disturbingly'' many children felt that they had been left to fend for themselves, saying the number of children unable to get help had doubled.

The report, "Always there when I need you'', said there had been a 124% increase in the number of counselling sessions where young people talked about problems accessing services since the previous year.

Peter Wanless, the NSPCC chief executive, said: "The road to recovery from abuse is long and often children are crying out to ChildLine because they have no one else left to turn to.

"Thousands of vulnerable children - many of whom have been abused - are silently coping with serious issues that leave them racked with worry when instead they should be getting help to rebuild their childhoods.

"We risk failing a generation of children if we leave them without the vital support they need to recover.''

Childline said that during 2014/15 it carried out 286,812 counselling sessions with children, a similar figure to the previous year.

The top three concerns counselled were family relationships, low self esteem/unhappiness and abuse.

Four of the top ten issues relate to mental health, accounting for almost one third of total concerns: low self-esteem/unhappiness, self-harm, suicidal feelings and mental health/depressive disorders.

There were 29,126 counselling sessions about all forms of abuse in 2014/15, with those involving sexual or online sexual abuse rising 8% from the previous year

The number of counselling sessions about low self-esteem/unhappiness increased by 9% cent, and 59% of referrals related to "suicidal feelings'', it said.

Imelda Redmond, the chief executive of charity 4Children, said the figures were "of grave concern''.

She added: "The number of child victims of abuse seeking support remains shockingly high. With double the previous number unable to access help and support, we are seeing future problems being stored up both for these children and for society as a whole.''

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