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Number of young seeking help for anxiety rises

Source – BBC News Online


The number of young people in the UK seeking help for anxiety has increased sharply, a children’s charity has said.

The NSPCC’s Childline counselled 11,706 young people for anxiety in 2015-16 – a 35% rise from the 8,642 in 2014-15.

Children as young as eight have contacted the charity, with girls seven times more likely to make contact for help about anxiety than boys, it said.

Issues raised ranged from personal and family problems to concerns about Brexit, the US election and Syrian war.

Children’s mental health ‘an emergency’

The NSPCC said the problem appeared to be getting worse, with provisional figures showing that from April to September Childline dealt with almost 6,500 cases where anxiety was cited as the main issue.

It said some youngsters talk to counsellors about problems in their day-to-day life, while others speak about disturbing events they have seen in the media and on social media.

The charity believes that anxiety can be also be caused by cyber bullying and can lead to self harm.

‘Panic attacks’

Dame Esther Rantzen, who launched Childline, which is marking its 30th anniversary, said children and young people are sometimes frightened and distressed by events in the wider world.

She said: “Seeing pictures of crying and bewildered toddlers being pulled from bomb-damaged homes upsets all of us.

“Often we fail to notice the impact these stories are having on young people.”

“The good news is that so many children are able to express their anxiety to Childline, knowing that we will take them seriously, so that we are able to reassure them.”

Peter Wanless, chief executive of the NSPCC which formally joined forces with Childline in 2006, said: “The world can be a worrying place but we need to ensure our children are reassured rather than left overwhelmed and frightened.

“It’s only natural for children and young people to feel worried sometimes, but when they are plagued by constant fears that are resulting in panic attacks and making them not want to leave the house then they need support.”

Tips for helping children with anxiety

  • Listen carefully to a child’s fears and worries
  • Offer reassurance and comfort and avoid complicated and worrying explanations that could leave them more frightened and confused
  • Help them find advice and support to understand distressing events and feelings

Source: NSPCC

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