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Boys six times less likely than girls to seek support for suicidal feelings

Credit: PA

New figures from NSPCC reveal that boys are six times less likely to seek support from Childline for suicidal feelings despite the suicide rate for boys being twice that for girls.

Childline is calling for boys to speak out about suicidal feelings as part of it's 'Tough to Talk' campaign.

Of the 614 contacts to Childline counsellors from children in Wales, just 31 were from boys in 2015/16 compared with 364 from girls - it's unknown whether the remainder were from boys or girls.

Children struggling with suicidal feelings may feel alone with nobody to talk to and nowhere to turn for help. For boys in particular it can be harder to ask for help due to a reluctance to talk about their feelings, but this could be stopping boys from accessing support when they most need it.

We hope that by putting the spotlight on male suicide we can help boys see that they are not alone. If they can’t talk to friends or parents then Childline is here to listen to them, whenever they need us.

– Des Mannion, head of NSPCC Wales

Many girls also tell Childline they don’t want to live any more, and to hear this from any child is heart-breaking. But we know that boys particularly struggle to talk about their despair because they regard it as weakness to share their feelings, so we want to encourage them to speak to us on the phone, or online because we also know that if they try to combat these suicidal thoughts alone, they can become overwhelmed by them, and that’s when we can lose precious young lives.

Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for boys and young men. We need to draw attention to this growing problem, and make sure all our desperate children know that Childline is there for them, day and night.

– Dame Esther Rantzen, President of Childline