CHILDREN and teenagers have used the NSPCC service Childline more times than ever, at a worryingly increased rate, as counselling sessions for anxiety and related issues have risen by 59% in the past two years.
Childline gave 13,764 anxiety related counselling sessions last year, which is equivalent to 38 a day. In as many as 3000 counselling sessions, young people described having panic attacks, and many children feel let down by the mainstream health system as they do not fit the criteria for mental health support.
Anxiety is known to lead to depression and other illnesses such as eating disorders and self-harm, in Salford alone, an estimated 10% of children aged five to ten are thought to have some kind of mental health disorder.
524 people per 100,000 in Salford aged between ten and 24 are hospitalised due to self-harm, and an estimated 4,030 people are thought to have an eating disorder.
Nicky Lidbetter, CEO of Manchester based charity AnxietyUK, suggests that the “rise in celebrities who have started talking about their experiences of living with anxiety” has prompted the rise in young people reaching out for help and “people coming forward and recognising that they are experiencing the same symptoms.”
She also suggests that the reason many young people feel so worried and stressed is “the pressures of life” which are affecting young people in particular “the digital era in which we live, the social media technologies are impacting on young people in the sense that they’re finding it difficult to switch off.”
AnxietyUK see a lot of young people seeking help in Manchester, Nicky says that “we do see a lot of young people coming to AnxietyUK requesting help with anxiety or anxiety-based depression, and that’s typically because they’ve read an article and what they’ve seen has resonated with their own experiences.
They’ve been to the NHS and found that there’s very long and lengthy waiting lists and so they’d rather get prompt treatment outside the NHS.”