Page last updated at 02:38 GMT, Monday, 23 March 2009

Suicidal children's calls triple

Girl
About 60 suicidal children ring the helpline every week

The number of suicidal children ringing the telephone helpline ChildLine has tripled in the last five years, the service has said.

The National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC), which runs the line, said 60 suicidal children ring ChildLine each week.

One in 14 of those needed urgent medical attention, it said.

ChildLine has asked for donations, as despite extra resources one in three calls is still unanswered.

Scared

Almost a third of the children calling told volunteers they had suffered physical abuse, with one in five children admitting they had been the victim of sexual abuse.

One girl, Sophie, 10, told a counsellor: "I hate my life now dad's gone because I get blamed for everything and mum is in the pub every day.

"We never have any money because of her drinking and I've got no friends now. I just want to die."

Another child called saying: "I feel like killing myself. My mum and dad beat me and I'm getting bullied at school.

"I don't have anyone else to turn to except ChildLine. No one else would be able to help me. I'm scared of telling anyone."

The NSPCC said 80% of calls to ChildLine from suicidal children were girls, but the number of boys with suicidal feelings is now four times higher than in 2004.

ChildLine head Sue Minto said: "It is heartbreaking to listen to children talk of wanting to consider suicide. For a suicidal child, ChildLine can literally be a lifeline.

"Suicidal children tell us they feel utterly lonely and helpless and, apart from ChildLine, nobody seems to care whether they live or die.

"For some children, saying they want to take their own lives is a cry for help, while others see it as the only way to escape their problems."



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