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The NSPCC says it has recorded a 35% spike in the number of young people contacting its ChildLine service for anxiety problemsNSPCC.org.uk

Brexit and the rise of Donald Trump may have fuelled a significant spike in the number of British children seeking help for anxiety, new figures from a charity suggest.

The NSPCC's ChildLine counselled 11,706 young people for anxiety in 2015-16 – a 35% increase from the 8,642 the previous year.

Children as young as eight have contacted the charity about issues ranging from personal and family problems, to concerns about Brexit, the US Election and the war in Syria.

Young people's increased exposure to world affairs through social media is suggested as a possible contributor to the rise.

One teenage girl who contacted the charity said: "Things like the EU referendum and the US election make me worry about my future and how things are going to change. I feel really sorry for the refugees because it isn't their fault that their country is at war."

Another child who contacted ChildLine, a young boy, added: "I'm really worried about what is going on in the world. People have talked about a world war starting and I get really scared thinking about this."

The NSPCC said the problem appeared to be getting worse, with figures for the last six months showing almost 6,500 counselling sessions for anxiety.

ChildLine, which this year marks its 30th anniversary, launched a webpage in September called Worries about the world to help explain events and trends likely to make children anxious.

Dame Esther Rantzen, president of ChildLine, said:"We know children and young people are sometimes frightened and distressed by events in the wider world.

"Seeing pictures of crying and bewildered toddlers being pulled from bomb-damaged homes upsets all of us. Often we fail to notice the impact these stories are having on young people. The good news is that so many children are able to express their anxiety to ChildLine, knowing that we will take them seriously, so that we are able to reassure them.

"ChildLine will always be there for any problem, just as we have been for 30 years, as we tell the children 'if it matters to you, it matters to us'."