UK & World News
Third Of Children Think Of Suicide By 16
Almost a third of children have considered or attempted suicide by the time they turn 16, according to a new survey.
Research for the new mental health charity MindFull also shows that 29% had self-harmed because they felt "down".
The charity is so alarmed by the finding that it is offering 11 to 17-year-olds immediate access to free online counselling with professionals and says it will be working with schools to educate young people on how to cope with mental health issues.
The YouGov poll of over 2,000 young people found almost half of those suffering from depression failed to get the support they needed.
Emma-Jane Cross, founder of the charity, said children are being let down or simply ignored by those they turn to.
She said: "It's unacceptable that so many are having to resort to harming themselves on purpose in order to cope, or worse still are thinking about ending their own lives.
"Early intervention is proven to help prevent adult mental health problems, so swift action must be taken now if we are to avoid a legacy of serious long-term mental illness."
According to the charity, many young children feel down because of stress at school, because they are worried about their future and because they feel they are not "good enough".
April Plater began self harming at the age of 12, cutting her arms, legs and even face as a release from her depression.
She was overwhelmed by problems at home and school, but people she turned to dismissed them as just "teenage troubles".
Now 17, she told Sky News: "After a while of self harming I wasn't getting the release I was originally.
"It was almost like an addiction. So then the suicidal thoughts started to come, because I wasn't getting that satisfaction and I was still not talking about my issues."
Labour leader Ed Miliband and psychologist Tanya Byron are supporting the charity.
Professor Byron said: "Just as we look after our children's physical health, it's vital that we also offer support for their mental wellbeing.
"Children and young people are clearly not getting the help they need and that's why this new online support from MindFull is so important."
:: The Samaritans is available for anyone struggling to cope, round the clock, every single day of the year. Call 08457 90 90 90, email firstname.lastname@example.org or find local branch details at www.samaritans.org.