A record number of boys called ChildLine last year, double the number who sought help from the children’s counselling helpline five years ago.
Most calls to the helpline are from girls but more than 58,000 boys phoned the charity in 2007/8. The proportion of calls made by boys has risen from one in five to one in three calls over the past five years.
Their problems ranged from loneliness to abuse but bullying was the root of the majority of calls from boys, with 12,568 cases last year.
“Desperate boys call because they have no one to turn to,” says Head of ChildLine Sue Minto. “There’s still a stigma that boys don’t cry but it may be there’s no longer so much pressure to be macho.”
Alex Gray, a ChildLine counsellor, added, “Sometimes you have to work hard to get boys to talk about what’s really troubling them. But once they do they’re surprised that someone’s there listening to them.”