“I keep getting bad thoughts and hearing voices in my head. They tell me that I'm not good enough."
These were the words of a young girl who called NSPCC's Childline service in a desperate plea for help.
Last year the helpline conducted more than 69 counselling sessions every day - up 15% from the previous year - with children "tormented by suicidal thoughts".
More than 2,000 of those who called the service in 2016 were "actively suicidal young people" who had taken initial steps to take their own lives, including writing a note, giving away meaningful items, or planning their death.
According to the NSPCC, suicide is the third most common reason for girls to contact Childline, and the fifth most common for boys.
Mental health issues, family relationships, and self-harm were the top three additional concerns mentioned during suicide counselling sessions.
NSPCC CEO Peter Wanless said: “We must face the painful reality that many young people feel so overwhelmed by their problems they have considered taking their own, precious lives.
"We have never seen figures like these before and they are a blunt wake up call."
NSPCC mentioned that "lengthy waiting times for mental health services" makes it difficult for young people to access the help they need.
The new figures come after a report by the Education Policy Institute found that over a quarter of young people referred to specialist mental health services are not accepted for treatment.
Childline founder and president Esther Rantzen said: “Today's tragic statistics prove that Childline is more crucial than ever and, for some, literally a lifeline.
“When Childline launched over 30 years ago, I remember children usually felt suicidal because they were being hurt by someone.
"Now young people tell us they are overwhelmed by mental health issues taking them to the brink of suicide."
The NSPCC has encouraged people in west London to volunteer as Childline counsellors. In the south east, Childline has a base in Hackney, London.
"By offering their time they could help a child and even potentially save a life," NSPCC said in a statement.
Childline is available on Freephone 0800 1111 24/7 and offers confidential services to any child.
Moved by what you’ve read? Please help Childline be there for every young person who desperately needs support. Donate by visiting NSPCC's website here
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