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  1. ITV Report

Anxiety counselling sessions for children in Wales at its highest

Hundreds of children who contact Childline do not reveal where they are from. Credit: PA

Childline counselling sessions for anxiety are at their highest ever levels, according to figures from the NSPCC.

Nearly 900 Welsh children have had counselling sessions for anxiety over the last two years.

55%
There has been a 55% rise in counselling sessions with Welsh children about anxiety in 2 years.

The charity is warning about the debilitating impact the condition can have on young people following the rise in anxiety counselling.

Volunteers carried out 527 counselling sessions about anxiety with Welsh children in 2016/17, rising from 340 in 2015/16.

Hundreds of children who contact Childline do not reveal where they are from, so the true number of young people counselled in Wales is likely to be higher.

These figures highlight the importance of children being able to have open conversations about their feelings with a parent or trusted adult. But, for those with persistent symptoms, it is vital they have access to professional support and treatment, the charity says.

The NSPCC has published advice for parents to help manage their children’s anxiety:

  • Listen carefully to your child’s fears and worries
  • Stay calm and offer reassurance and comfort when they become anxious
  • Find ways to help them relax, such as breathing exercises which is also a good way to control panic attacks
  • Encourage them to live healthily and exercise

Anxiety is a growing problem in young people’s lives today, and it is not going away.

We all need to help children and teenagers find ways to cope with their anxious feelings and not dismiss them as an overreaction.

One of the most important ways to help those that are struggling is to make sure they know they always have someone to talk to and they never have to suffer alone, which is why Childline is so vital.

– Des Mannion, head of NSPCC Cymru/Wales