CHILDLINE in Leeds is urging parents not to be afraid of talking to their children about difficult subjects after revealing worrying national statistics.
The charity said mental and emotional health and wellbeing was the most common reason for children calling Childline in the 12 months from April 2017.
A total of 39 per cent, or 106,037, of all Childline’s counselling sessions from Aril 2017 to March 2018 were about mental and emotional health.
The NSPCC’s Childline in Leeds revealed the information at the start of Children’s Mental Health Week, which runs from today to Sunday.
The YEP’s #SpeakYourMind campaign for 2019 will focus on children’s mental health.
We will be reporting on different aspects surrounding children’s mental health in a series of articles every day this week.
Darren Worth, senior supervisor for Childline in Leeds, said: “We still have tens of thousands of children contacting us every year because they don’t know who to turn to, or feel like they can’t share how they feel to people in their lives.
One young person said: “I’ve told my friend what’s happening, but I never tell her the full extent of how bad I’m feeling or that I hurt myself because I don’t want her to tell anyone.
“I don’t want to speak to a doctor or therapist because I feel like I can’t trust them.”
Mr Worth added: “As adults we like to think we know what’s best for the children in our lives, but sometimes a listening ear can make much more difference than just advice.
“It can be really tough to have these conversations, but you shouldn’t be afraid of talking about difficult subjects.”
Health chiefs are still finalising plans for a new £13m Child and Adolescent Mental Health Unit (CAMHS) at St Mary’s Hospital, Armley.
Building work is expected to start this year and it is hoped the new unit will be open by June 2021.
The 22-bed facility will support child and adolescent mental health (CAMHS) patients across the region who have issues including severe personality and eating disorders.
Thea Stein, chief executive of Leeds Community Healthcare NHS Trust, said: “Our ambition is to make sure that no child or young person within West Yorkshire goes out of area for treatment.”
Any parent worried about their child’s mental health and who needs help and support can call the NSPCC helpline on 0808 800 5000.
Children who want to discuss any concerns can contact Childline free on 0800 1111.
Contacting Childline is confidential and you don’t have to give your name if you don’t want to.
The NHS Leeds Mindmate website at www.mindmate.org.uk provides mental health and emotional wellbeing advice and information for young people in Leeds as well as for parents and carers.