Childline Gibraltar held two training events with professionals from the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children [NSPCC] this week.
The training event focused on suicide and self-harm awareness and was given by two UK trainers.
The workshops called mental health, self-harm, working with suicide and de-escalating was attended by the Minister for Health, Neil Costa, who gave an address.
The event that aimed to help volunteers deal with these types of phone calls was also attended by volunteers at the Gibraltar Samaritans and officers from the Royal Gibraltar Police.
“At Childline Gibraltar we have seen an increase in the number of contacts we have been receiving to our helpline from young people on various mental health issues,” said Chairwoman Jo Abergel.
“One in three calls we receive in regarding a mental health issue.”
“The biggest increase was on calls for self-harm and suicidal thoughts. This is all about how we could up-skill our volunteers and boost their confidence when dealing with these calls and increase our awareness with these topics.”
The event aided a cross section of volunteers and was arranged as a result of calls received by the helpline.
Mrs Abergel told reporters that between 2015 and 2016 the charity received 19 phone calls from young people with suicidal thoughts.
UK trainers Igor Vidovic and Eleni Kypridemos have both worked for over a decade each within the NSPCC.
“We are experiencing continuous increase year on year on mental health issues and our management had put in place mandatory training to equip our staff to deal with those issues,” Mr Vidovic said.
“We were very happy to be invited here and to share our knowledge and our experience.”
Mrs Abergel felt the raise in technology particularly social media has much to blame with body image problems and other issues.
The charity encourages young people to talk about any issues and their feelings in a safe space. Young people needing to talk can contact Childline Gibraltar on Freephone 8008.
The event was sponsored by the Parasol Foundation Trust.