Sharp rise in number of children seeking help for anxiety

NSPCC says number of children and young people seeking help for anxiety is rising sharply.

The number of children and young people seeking help for anxiety has risen sharply, says the NSPCC.

Causes of children’s anxiety range from family problems to world turbulence  Photo: iStock

The charity’s Childline service dealt with 11,706 counselling sessions in 2015-16 where anxiety was mentioned, an increase of more than a third on the previous year. Causes ranged from personal and family problems, to concerns about world affairs such as the EU referendum and trouble in the Middle East.

Children as young as eight made contact with the service to talk about their fears, girls being seven times more likely to contact Childline for help with anxiety than boys.

Reassurance is key

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless 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, making them not want to leave the house, then they need support.’

A global review of anxiety published by Cambridge University researchers in June found that women, young people under 35 and those with health problems are at higher risk of anxiety.

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