The number of tweens reaching out to Kids Helpline more than doubles
A Kids Helpline report shows more tweens are reaching out for help on major issues including anxiety, online addiction, self-harm, eating disorders and thoughts of suicide.
Kids Helpline has released its latest insights report and the figures show more tweens are contacting the free hotline than ever, with the number of 10 to 14-year-olds calling and emailing Kids Helpline more than doubling in 2017.
CEO Tracy Adams says it's a step in the right direction as a key focus for the organisation is to encourage early help seeking behaviour.
“By addressing emotional wellbeing issues early, more serious mental health concerns can be averted before they escalate,” Ms Adams said.
Kids Helpline says the issues tweens are most concerned about are varied.
“Young people in the 10 to 14 age group tell us they experience issues ranging from anxiety, problems sleeping, online addiction, anger issues or mood swings through to self-harm, eating disorders, depression and thoughts of suicide.
The reasons why they are experiencing these issues are varied and complex, but can include family breakdowns or illness, worries about bad news, school pressures or bullying.
Mental health was the most common reason kids and young people contacted Kids Helpline for counselling in 2017 (26%), followed by family relationships (18%), emotional wellbeing (17%), suicide-related issues (16%) and dating and partner relationships (10%).
Bupa has recently partnered with Kids Helpline to sponsor the Kids Helpline @ School Wellbeing program, free counsellor-led sessions delivered in the classroom to primary school students around the country.
The program is designed to increase resilience and encourage help seeking by children, using early intervention to help set children up with the tools they need to look after their emotional wellbeing into the future. To find out more about the schools program or to get your school involved visit www.kidshelpline.com.au/school.
There was a significant gender gap in terms of who was reaching out for help in 2017, with 74% female, 24% male and 2% intersex, trans or gender diverse.
Ms Adams said the complexity of issues reported to Kids Helpline over the last 20 years has grown substantially with more children and young people needing longer term support.
“In 2017, 64% of all contacts were from children and young people who had contacted Kids Helpline before, and were receiving occasional or ongoing support,” she said.
“More complex issues have also meant the total counselling time with young people has risen significantly, increasing by 72% in just 10 years.
“Duty of Care sessions where emergency interventions are required also continues to rise, increasing by 40% from 2013-17.”
Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential 24/7 phone and online counselling service specifically for children and young people aged 5 to 25 years. Kids Helpline counsellors can be reached for free on 1800 55 1800 or online at www.kidshelpline.com.au.