A new study has shown more teenagers are now contacting counsellors about self-harming, suicide and online bullying than ever before.
The worrying trend was highlighted in a report by charity ChildLine, which is run by the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC).
There has been an 87 per cent increase in contact regarding online bullying since 2012.
Youngsters told the charity the 24-hour nature of online bullying means there is no escape, and can lead to very serious feelings of isolation, low self-esteem and, in some cases, suicide.
More than 1,400 youngsters said they experienced racist bullying; a 69 per cent increase.
While self-harm was mentioned in almost 47,000 counselling sessions – a 41 per cent increase – most of that came from a 50 per cent rise in reports from 12-year-olds.
Suicidal thoughts in 12 to 15-year-olds saw a 33 per cent rise.
Marj Hamlett-Hughes, from Lynworth (pictured) lost her son, Martin Holder, aged just 16, in 2012.
The youngster was found hanged at his home after alleged bullying.
She said: “It’s always difficult, for both the family and the child.
“Children must know if they are being bullied, they have people they can go to who can help.
“Bullying is horrible. It affects people for a long time.
“It is a taboo subject in many communities. We don’t talk about it, we don’t discuss it, we don’t take notice of it sometimes.”
An online survey by Gloucestershire County Council showed pupils are becoming more confident about the way their schools deal with bullying.
Councillor Paul McLain, cabinet member for children and young people, said: “The council’s healthy living and learning team supports schools with resources and training to raise awareness of bullying and how to deal with it effectively.
“We’re proud of the fact that Gloucestershire schools take bullying seriously and everyone should encourage children and young people to speak up about it.
“Nobody should live with bullying, but sometimes finding the courage to speak up can be difficult. “However talking with a teacher, parent, carer or friend is the first step to making it stop.”
Esther Rantzen, founder of ChildLine, said: “This report is a real wake-up call. Far too many of the nation's children seem to be struggling and in despair.
“It's so important that we support children to talk about issues and look out for signs that they're not able to cope.
“No matter how hard-pressed we are, we must commit to giving children time and space to talk about their lives.
“If they are concealing unhappiness, encourage them to open up and if they can't talk to you, maybe they can talk to ChildLine.”
To call ChildLine, call 0800 1111.