Wednesday 20 June 2018

Teen suicide helpline reports 44pc rise in calls and texts this year

Teen suicide helpline saw a 44pc rise in calls in the first six months of 2016 (Stock photo)
Teen suicide helpline saw a 44pc rise in calls in the first six months of 2016 (Stock photo)
Catherine Devine

Catherine Devine

An Irish helpline for teenagers received more than 23,000 calls and texts in the first half of 2016.

TeenLine, a helpline founded in 2006 for teenagers with suicidal thoughts said this was an increase of 44pc from the same period last year where the helpline received approximately 16,000 calls and texts.

So far this year the helpline received 14,000 texts alone between January and June compared to 12,000 texts in total for 2015.

Around 15pc of calls are made by teenagers with suicidal thoughts while another 15pc are from young people suffering abuse or self-harming.

TeenLine’s clinical director Niamh Hannan said teenagers from all walks of life were experiencing high levels of anxiety and low mood or depression.

“The three main areas of a young person’s life are home, school, and friend. They can cope if only one area is going wrong at a time, but where they are experiencing difficulty in two or three areas at a time, they are more at risk. TeenLine provides a vital support service for teenagers so encourage your teens to reach out and talk,” she said.

The voluntary organisation has no paid staff and does not receive government funding.

The helpline was founded by Maureen Bolger after her son Darren took his own life. Maureen wanted to provide a helpline especially for teenagers so they could talk to someone when they were going through difficult times.

The TeenLine helpline number is 1800 833 634 and the text service can be contacted by texting “teen” to 50015. They are available between 8pm and 11pm Monday-Sunday.

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