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Young people contacting Childline over gender issues doubles

This news post is over 7 years old

Counsellors held 2,796 sessions last year about gender identity and gender dysphoria

The number of young people contacting Childline over gender issues has more than doubled since 2012/13, the charity has revealed.

Counsellors held 2,796 sessions last year about gender identity and gender dysphoria, with children as young as 11 telling Childline they felt unhappy with their birth gender.

Homophobic bullying or transphobic abuse was mentioned in 450 of the sessions, and many young transgender people saying they had self-harmed or had suicidal thoughts as a result.

A lack of support services and poorly-trained NHS staff were also said to have contributed to mental health problems among those who contacted the charity.

Those who found the courage to talk to others often said they felt humiliated or were criticised by them, with adults often dismissing their issues as a “phase”.

Childline and the NSPCC are now calling for parents and support workers to listen to young people’s concerns without making them feel ashamed or dismissing their concerns.

Peter Wanless, chief executive of NSPCC, said: “We cannot call ourselves a modern society if we stigmatise children just because they feel different. It's vital that children have support otherwise, as they tell us all too often, they suffer. When a child is made to feel ashamed about who they are, it can trigger serious mental health issues and crippling shame.

''It’s vital young people are confident that if they speak out they will be able to try and navigate these confusing and complex feelings without also having to fight prejudice and abuse.

“Adults must support a child as they explore what they’re feeling and guide them to get the right help when necessary.”

The NSPCC said there are a range of resources available online for young people with gender issues and their parents.

These include Childline's advice on transgender identity and sexual orientation and Stonewall Youth’s LGBTQ info.



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over 7 years ago
It is sad that so many young people are developing this mental illness (as defined by the World Health Organisation), but not surprising given the amount of coverage this non-issue receives in the media each day. There are two sexes; men and women. To imply otherwise is to be a 'biology denier'. Let's move on and deal with some real issues which affect humanity.
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Craig Crosthwaite
over 7 years ago
Double what? The article is meaningless unless you state numbers. "Doubling" induces the idea of horrific numbers, it may have been, but out of the total of the nations children how many phoned? Or am i to presume the number of sessions counselling was also the unique number of children seeking assistance. I understand the issue but i cannot respond the articles title if the article itself is bland in details.
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