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Children as young as five suffering from mental health problems

27 February, 2007

Sinn Féin Foyle Assembly election candidate Martina Anderson has said she is greatly concerned about the latest figures released by the charity Childline, that children as young as five years of age had contacted the organisation about mental health problems.

Ms Anderson said:

"The latest figures released by Childline should be a wake up call for everyone concerned about the welfare of our children .The fact that children as young as five years of age are contacting the charity about mental health problems should set alarm bells ringing especially as these are only the ones we know about and there could be potentially thousands of children out their seeking help.

"Mental health concerns generally ranged from depression to eating disorders, family troubles, bullying, living with someone who has a mental illness and physical and sexual abuse.

"Also frightening is the fact that some of those who called the help line contemplated taking their own lives or had attempted to do just that.

"What these findings tell us is that there is a massive cap in the provision for mental health services for children and teenagers and this comes against a back drop of the rise in adult rates of depression.

"We need to be proactive in trying to redress this worrying trend and put in place the proper support services needed to address all the various issues that is causing young children to suffer from mental health problems." ENDS

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