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Ipswich MP joins plea for more cash for Childline charity amid rise in numbers seeking help for suicidal thoughts

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin Picture: SEANA HUGHES

Ipswich MP Sandy Martin has backed the NSPCC’s call for more funding for Childline - as record numbers seek help for suicidal thoughts.

Mr Martin is one of 130 MPS and peers who have signed the open letter to Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, in support of NSPCC’s Are You There? campaign.

The letter asks for a slice of a £300 million pledge, set out in the Government’s recently published green paper Transforming Children and Young People’s Mental health Provision, to go towards funding the Childline service.

Latest figures show that in 2015/16, Childline counsellors had to alert emergency services an average of six times a day about children who has spoken about considering suicide.

The service has seen a 120% rise in counselling sessions about suicide in the last five years - from 8,835 in 2010/11 to 19,481 in 2015/16.

The letter sent to the minister reads: “Services like the NSPCC’s Childline are now on the front line of mental health support for young people.

“Last year one in three Childline counselling sessions were about mental health and emotional wellbeing.

“The majority of these took place outside school hours – many in the middle of the night.”

Last week the NSPCC revealed that since 2014 schools made 7,881 referrals to NHS Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) in the East of England, but almost a third of these were deemed ineligible for treatment.

The letter continues: “The NSPCC urgently needs to increase both the number of available volunteers and to improve and expand the training that they receive.

“This will ensure that Childline is equipped to support the more complex mental health needs children are coming to the service with.

“It surely deserves Government support and investment.

“When a child is brave enough to reach out it is absolutely vital that the immediate response and support is there for them.”

Earlier this month the NSPCC and four of their young campaigners handed in a petition of 22,411 signatures to Number 10 Downing Street to call for increased funding to Childline as part of their Are You There? campaign.

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