Anxiety in children '“ what to do to give them the required support
'I've been feeling anxious for just over a year, but the past few months it's been getting much worse.
“I had to be sent home from college last week as I had a panic attack and I’m scared it will happen again.
“When I get anxious I get sharp chest pains, my palms sweat, I go dizzy, I mumble, I can’t make eye contact and I just want to escape from everything.”
This is what one 17-year-old told Childline.
In 2017-18, our counsellors received 21,297 calls and emails where young people talked about anxiety – more than 50 per cent more than the previous year.
Children and teenagers talked about a range of reasons why they may have been feeling anxious, including bullying and cyber-bullying, 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.
For anyone who is feeling anxious, a good thing to do is to talk to someone, such as a friend, a family member or someone else that you can trust. Just talking about it can help you feel calmer.
If you don’t feel like talking right away, you could write it down. Writing a diary can be very helpful for some people. It can help you understand your feelings more clearly, making things easier to deal with.
Relaxation techniques can also be extremely helpful. When we’re anxious, we tend to over-analyse things. Meditation is a helpful way to relax the mind.
Try the Smiling Mind website, which gives advice about mindfulness techniques (www.smilingmind.com.au).
We also recommend deep breathing exercises, which are a good way of controlling panic attacks.
Our Childline counsellors are also available 24 hours a day, seven days a week, to listen to young people and suggest options about what they can do to help their situations.
Children and young people with any worries can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or www.childline.org.uk, while adults concerned about a child can contact the NSPCC’s free and confidential helpline on 0808 800 5000.