Childline: Children struggling with feelings of unhappiness

Childline has revealed that it receives nearly 40 contacts per day from children who are struggling with feelings of unhappiness and low mood.

Childline have said that thousands of children and struggling with feelings of low mood and unhappinessThe national charity helpline, operated by the NSPCC, delivered 14,253 counselling sessions last year for children who were struggling with low mood and unhappiness, leading them to launch a new campaign throwing a spotlight on this topic.

Helping children cope with low mood and unhappiness

Childline have partnered with Lidl GB on the campaign ‘Find Your Calm’, which encourages children to learn ways of coping with frequent low mood that works for them.

They say that feelings of low mood and unhappiness were the second highest sub-concern under the main concern of ‘mental health,’ that they encountered last year, coming just below ‘stress and anxiety’ and above ‘depression’ and ‘loneliness.’

Almost 4 in 10 counselling sessions centring on unhappiness were held with young people aged between 12 and 15. Childline heard from young people struggling with feelings of unhappiness who were also concerned about loneliness, confidence, loss and anxiety.

They want all children to know that they are there to help with any concern, no matter how small it may seem.

Childline can provide support for those struggling with unhappiness

Unhappiness is a top sub concern under the topic of mental health, just below stress and anxiety and above depression The confidential helpline acknowledges that all children and young people may need support to navigate the ups and downs in their lives and they have highlighted this in a new film which follows four teenagers practising their own individual coping methods.

Some young people may be under the impression that Childline is only designed to help young people dealing with issues related to abuse, but they want everyone to know that their trained counsellors are there to support children and young people with any concern that may be affecting them, including low mood, feeling numb, lack of motivation, loneliness, isolation, bullying and other problems.

Children and young people who are struggling with unhappiness or other issues can contact Childline for free via telephone (0800 1111), direct messaging and email.

There are also online resources available to support children and young people on the Childline website. They also provide moderated message boards which enable young people to speak with each other about their concerns.

Childline Director Shaun Friel explains:

“We know that many children are struggling with feelings of unhappiness. There are lots of reasons why this could be – problems at home, with their friends, societal factors or schoolwork.

“We would encourage all children to reach out for support with these feelings, and Childline is here to listen. It doesn’t matter how small the concern may seem – we are here for every young person.”

Early intervention key to tackling childhood unhappiness

Childline wants early intervention in schools to help support children struggling with unhappiness and mental health problemsChildline has previously called on the UK government to commit to funding and delivering Mental Health Support teams for all schools and colleges in England in order to provide early help and support for all children that need it.

Current targets aim for access to mental health support for up to 50% of school pupils by April 2025, but Childline says that this lacks the sense of urgency required.

They say that early intervention support can prevent children and young people from reaching crisis point as their mental health problems worsen.

Childline has also provided some helpful tips and advice for adults supporting a young person’s mental health and wellbeing. These include:

  • Let them know that you’re there for them and are on their side
  • Be patient and try to remain calm and approachable, even if their behaviour upsets you
  • Acknowledge that their feelings are valid and let them know that it’s okay for them to open and honest about their emotions
  • Think of healthy ways you can cope together, like practising yoga, breathing exercises or mindfulness

Youth mental health training and support

Childline wants all children and young people to know that they can contact them with any concern, including unhappiness, low mood, loneliness, anxiety and moreFirst Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider delivering courses in subjects such as health and safetyfirst aidfire safetymanual handlingfood safetymental healthhealth and social caresafeguarding and more.

They work with a large number of early years and childcare providers, as well as schools, colleges, and children’s services.

Their courses include Understanding Mental Health, Youth Mental Health First Aid, Anxiety Awareness, Self-Harm Awareness and Suicide Awareness.

A trainer from FRT says:

“Children have faced isolation, loneliness, academic upheaval, bereavement, money worries and other difficulties since the pandemic. It’s no surprise that thousands of children are struggling with feelings of unhappiness and low mood, with many also experiencing stress, anxiety and depression.

“It remains vitally important that anyone who works closely with children and young people has an understanding of mental health, is able to spot the signs that someone may be struggling and can offer appropriate early help and support. Focused training can help with this.”

brief summary of our mental health training can now be downloaded as an infographic.

You can also download our free Guide to Mental Health Training from our website.

For more information on the training that FRT can provide, please call them today on freephone 0800 310 2300 or send an e-mail to

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