Childline urges boys to speak out about suicidal feelings


Childline’s new Tough To Talk campaign encourages boys to seek help for the issues and problems they’re facing.

Boys are 6 times less likely than girls to talk to Childline counsellors about suicidal thoughts.

Their new Tough To Talk campaign urges boys to speak out about their problems and reassures them they’re not alone.

Recent figures show:

Soccer star Wayne Rooney backs the campaign:

“Growing up in the world of football I know there can be a stigma attached to young men showing emotion and talking about their feelings. It can be seen as a weakness but the opposite is true and it takes great strength to open up and reach out for help.

“Hopefully Childline’s ‘Tough to Talk’ campaign will help young people, and boys in particular, see that they are not alone and it’s ok to speak out. They don’t need to suffer in silence. I would encourage any young person struggling with suicidal thoughts to talk to someone they trust or contact Childline.”

The boys who did get in touch with Childline talked about a wide range of issues including relationship worries, abuse, bullying, sexuality and gender identityand mental health issues alongside feeling suicidal. 12-15 year olds were most likely to be counselled about suicide.

In 20% of counselling sessions where boys mentioned if they had confided in anyone else, they said it was the first time they had spoken to anybody about theirsuicidal thoughts or feelings.

One young person told Childline: “I keep having suicidal thoughts and I feel like I need to speak to someone. I have thought about telling my Mum, but I think she will say that I just need to get over it. I have exams coming up but I haven’t been able to concentrate because of these thoughts I keep having. What should I do?”

A 14-year-old boy told us: “Sometimes I think killing myself is the only option left. I’ve tried everything; I’ve been to my GP and have had counselling too but nothing seems to work. I feel as if nobody understands me. I’ve been depressed for a few years now and things seem to have become worse. Please help me; I don’t know what to do anymore.”

NSPCC CEO Peter Wanlesssaid: “Children struggling with suicidal feelings may feel alone with nobody to talk to and nowhere to turn for help. For boys in particular it can be harder to ask for help due to a reluctance to talk about their feelings,but this could be stopping boys from accessing support when they most need it.

“We hope that by putting the spotlight on male suicide we can help boyssee that they are not alone. If they can’t talk to friends or parents then Childline is here to listen to them, whenever they need us.”

Dame Esther Rantzen, President of Childline said: “Many girls also tell Childline they don’t want to live any more, and to hear this from any child is heart-breaking. But we know that boys particularly struggle to talk about their despair because they regard it as weakness to share their feelings, so we want to encourage them to speak to us on the phone, or onlinebecause we also know that if they try to combat these suicidal thoughts alone, they can become overwhelmed by them, and that’s when we can lose precious young lives.

“Suicide is one of the leading causes of death for boys and young men. We need to draw attention to this growing problem, and make sure allour desperate children know that Childline is there for them, day and night.”

Children and young people can contact Childline for free, confidential support and advice, 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or at

The Campaign

The film was directed by Somesuch, duo Luke Seomore and Joseph Bull who worked alongside Don’t Panic in order to bring their vision to life.

Nisha Mullea, Senior Account Manager for Don’t Panic London told us:

“We worked very closely with Childline and our young target audience to achieve really authenticity with this campaign. We worked with those who have had to deal with suicidal thoughts, and those who haven’t, to make sure we were producing content that felt real for all. It had to be authentic for those who have been in the same position as our protagonist, but that also felt relatable to their peers. We also gained insight from those who work with young people with severe mental health problems to understand patterns of behaviour and common characteristics of those suffering with suicidal thoughts to inform specific scenes in the film.

Unfortunately there are a lot facts and figures that shocked us when researching #toughtotalk. For us the most shocking is that the suicide rate for boys is more than double that it is in girls and that suicide is the biggest killer of men under the age of 45. Learning more and more about this topic highlighted how important it was for us to create content that resonates with young people and helps to create conversations on the topic.

This campaign really needed to get boys talking and we are overwhelmed by the positive reception – and to see boys commenting and engaging with the content in such a positive way is just amazing. This is such an important campaign to be involved with and we are so proud that we have worked to create something so accurate and relatable. ”


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