26/02/2007

Childrens charity appeals for mental health support

The NSPCC has called for urgent action to support Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services in Northern Ireland.

This news comes as the charity, which runs ChildLine, has revealed that some young children attempted suicide while trying to contact the helpline.

Paddy Shannon, from ChildLine NI, said that around 550 young callers – some as young as eight-years-old – were depressed, suicidal, had suffered sexual and physical abuse, eating disorders and had other mental problems.

“Some rang the 24-hour helpline while attempting to take their own life and others said they had already tried to kill themselves and were thinking of trying again,” he said.

Mr Shannon said that although they were able to give immediate support, it was obvious some who called with more severe problems would need intensive therapeutic support over a period of time.

“At the moment, there are simply not enough therapeutic services for children with these problems and we are urging the government to give this issue urgent attention.”

Of all the calls received, around three quarters came from girls.

However, statistics have shown the suicide rate among men is double that of females leading the charity to appeal for more resources to target males in particular.

(JM/SP)

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