Danish children calling suicide hotline more frequently

BørneTelefonen took twice as many calls regarding suicide last year

The number of calls made by children to the suicide hotline BørneTelefonen has doubled in just five years, according to child welfare advocates Børns Vilkår.

Some 1,107 children called BørneTelefonen in 2015 with suicidal thoughts, which is almost twice as many as in 2011. For the first time, suicidal thoughts/attempts is in the top 10 subjects that children call BørneTelefonen about, while sexual violation ranked at number seven.

“Some tell gruesome stories of sexual abuse and physical violence in their homes that have manifested within the child,” said Mikkel Balslev, the head of BørneTelefonen.

“The kids describe – perhaps for the first time – what they’ve been subjected to in their call to BørneTelefonen. If it’s abuse, the child will be offered an assessor from Børns Vilkår who will support the child in getting help from the municipality.”

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Love hurts the most
According to Balslev, the children’s dark thoughts are typically down to loneliness, bullying and being let down or failed by their closest loved ones.

Matters of the heart was the top reason why children called BørneTelefonen with 15.2 percent, followed by friendship issues, parent/child issues, teasing and sexual activity.

Bullying, development of the body, sexual violation, pregnancy, prevention and STDs, and suicidal thoughts/attempts completed the top 10.

In total, BørneTelefonen helped more than 43,000 children or adults last year – an increase of nearly 5,000 compared to 2014.