1. ITV Report

Number of children in Wales receiving Childline counselling for anxiety doubles

Credit: PA

The number of children from Wales receiving counselling for anxiety has almost doubled in the past two years, according to figures released by children's charity Childline.

Counsellors with the NSPCC-supported service delivered 608 sessions to children and young people from Wales in 2017/18 - up from 340 in 2015/16.

Children and teenagers who spoke to Children cited a range of reasons why they felt anxious. These included a range of issues such as bullying, cyber-bullying, eating problems, relationship problems and exam stress.

A number of those also experienced anxiety alongside other mental health conditions such as depression, obsessive compulsive disorder while others reported suffering from abuse, neglect or bereavement.

Des Mannion from NSPCC Cymru, described the rise as worrying.

Anxiety can be crippling and it is deeply worrying that the number of counselling sessions we are delivering for this issue is rising so quickly.

Increasingly Childline is filling the gap left by our public mental health services, providing young people with a place they can go for round the clock help and advice.

– Des Mannion, Head of NSPCC Cymru

Responding to the figures, the Welsh Government said they are working to increase teaching around mental health in schools.

Improving the mental health and well-being of children and young people continues to be a priority for us. We have led the way in the UK by providing counselling services for children and young people aged between 11 and 18, as well as pupils in Year 6 of primary school. Work is also underway to develop a whole school approach to emotional well-being, in order to improve the mental health and resilience of our children.

– Welsh Government Spokesperspon