Number of young people seeking help for anxiety doubles in two years

Connor, 16, from Norfolk, with Love Island's Kem Cetinay, who accompanied Conner to his high school

Connor, 16, from Norfolk, with Love Island's Kem Cetinay, who accompanied Conner to his high school prom. Picture: Courtesy of NSPCC - Credit: Courtesy of NSPCC

The pressures of modern-day life are leaving some children and teenagers feeling overwhelmed, leading to a sharp rise in the number of youngsters seeking help for anxiety.

In 2017/18, Childline delivered 21,297 counselling sessions to young people across the UK who were suffering from anxiety – almost double that of two years ago when the charity delivered 11,706 counselling sessions in 2015/16.

At least 88pc of the support provided by Childline for this issue was given to girls, with many children and teenagers citing a range of reasons for their anxiety - including bullying and cyberbullying, eating problems, relationship problems and issues at school with homework and exams.

Some also experienced anxiety alongside other mental health issues such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, while others reported having suffered abuse, neglect or bereavement.

Connor, 16, from Norfolk, used Childline to help with his anxiety after experiencing bullying in school, which worsened after he came out as bisexual.

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'I started to get a lot of hate crime inside and outside of school, online and offline,' he said. 'I could not go past certain places or to certain places as I was anxious someone would verbally attack me.

'I got beat up by a lad for being gay and this caused me to have a lot of anxiety around whether I could be myself, the way I dressed, how I walked, and how I spoke.' Connor said the support he received from his mother helped to build a stronger connection with her, adding: 'My mum herself suffers from anxiety so we could relate and helped me come up with strategies, breathing exercises and a support network.'

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After several visits to the doctors and a short time on medication, he said he had learnt to turn negative energy into a positive one.

'I understand anxiety is always going to be there - it will not go away,' he said. 'But I've learnt how to manage the majority of it.

'Childline is there if you would like to have a private chat with nobody knowing who you are or what you look like or how you sound.'

Children can contact Childline 24 hours a day, everyday of the year, on 0800 1111 or by visiting

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