More than 50,000 children reach out to Childline

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The NSPCC is warning about the devastating mental health impact of the pandemic on
children as new figures reveal Childline has seen an increase in the number of
counselling sessions about mental and emotional health with children aged 11 and under
since lockdown measures were first introduced – with the monthly average rising by
16 per cent.

The latest data from the NSPCC – also shows that the service has now delivered a total of 54,926 counselling sessions to children of all ages on this issue from April to the end of
December against the backdrop of the pandemic.

The monthly average number of counselling sessions on mental health where children
spoke about loneliness also rose by 10 per cent compared to the pre-lockdown period from January to March.

Childline counselling is delivered by volunteers and in response to these latest worrying
figures and with COVID restrictions continuing, the service is urgently appealing to those
who can spare four hours one evening a week or at the weekend to volunteer, so
Childline can be here for children when they need us the most.

With schools closed to the majority of pupils until at least mid-February and the whole of
the UK in lockdown, Childline has never been more important as a source of support for
young people who are struggling. Now more than ever, it is essential that children are
not left isolated, alone and unsupported.

Over the past ten months, the NSPCC-run service’s trained counsellors have heard first-
hand the devastating impact that the challenges posed by the coronavirus pandemic
have had on young people’s mental health.

Children who contacted Childline’s trained counsellors about their mental health spoke
about concerns including loneliness, low mood, low self-esteem, depression and anxiety.
Some have been feeling isolated and overwhelmed due to concerns about family
members catching the virus, or school closures and cancelled exams – while others have
felt cut off from support networks and are missing family and friends.

The charity said: “As we move from crisis to recovery, at the NSPCC we’re still here for children. Today, the shockwaves of the coronavirus pandemic are being felt in every community of the UK and Channel Islands.

“It’s time for us to all work together – to rebuild our society so it’s better for our children,
to continue to adapt how we work on the frontline of child protection, and to go further.

All of this is only possible with your support. You helped us be here before the pandemic, you helped us be here on the frontline throughout, and now we need your help so we can still be here, for every child.”

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