A record number of youngsters are calling Childline to seek help over suicidal thoughts, including children as young as 10, shocking new figures reveal.
Sexting, cyber-bullying and concerns over terrorism were among the reasons young people thought about taking their own lives, with the NSPCC help and advice service providing 62 counselling sessions each day last year for children tormented by their thoughts.
Among those turning to the charity for help were children as young as 10, while eight per cent of Childline's 295,000 counselling sessions last year were for youngsters with suicidal thoughts, the highest level the charity has ever recorded.
Of the 22,456 counselling sessions for suicide, 2,061 were for youngsters deemed to be "actively suicidal" after writing notes, giving away items or even making plans for death.
The charity said young people were most likely to be counselled about suicidal thoughts and feelings on Monday evenings, and most children confided to counsellors online via the charity's 1-2-1 chat service, or by email.
Overall, one in three counselling sessions were given for children with mental or emotional problems.
NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: "We must face the painful reality that many young people feel so overwhelmed by their problems they have considered taking their own, precious lives.
"We have never seen figures like these before and they are a blunt wake-up call.
"Young people must know life is worth living and they can lead a life rich in possibilities and happiness.
"When they are suffering from problems it is vital they get the right help swiftly before these issues snowball into suicidal feelings or even attempts to end their lives.
"I would urge any child who is feeling this way to take that first step and talk to Childline; our counsellors are always there for them."
Samaritans (116 123) operates a 24-hour service available every day of the year. If you prefer to write down how you’re feeling, or if you’re worried about being overheard on the phone, you can email Samaritans at email@example.com .
Childline (0800 1111) runs a helpline for children and young people in the UK. Calls are free and the number won’t show up on your phone bill.