Childline counsels 90,000 children during pandemic

The NSPCC’s confidential helpline, Childline, delivered nearly 90,000 counselling sessions for young people worried about mental health or abuse during the Covid-19 pandemic.

The national children’s charity said they had grown increasingly concerned about the “huge toll” the pandemic has had on young people.

Data from Childline for the period 1st April 2020 until 31st March 2021 reveals:

  • The service has conducted over 73,000 counselling sessions about mental or emotional health
  • 5,646 of those counselling sessions were held with children aged 11 or under, which represents an increase of almost a third (29%) from the previous year
  • The service also delivered 16,610 counselling sessions about abuse
  • Counselling sessions about emotional abuse increased by almost a fifth (18%) compared to the previous year

The charity also revealed that more children and young people have been accessing their Childline resources, information and tools online, showing they have been taking proactive steps to support their own emotional and mental wellbeing during this challenging time.

The NSPCC is now calling for the government to invest in a plan for children which is not limited to ensuring that they catch up on school work, and instead extends to providing mental health support in the classroom and the community.

They are also hosting ‘Childhood Day’ on 11th June where they’re encouraging people to celebrate childhood by organising a play event to raise money and help keep children safe.

Dame Esther Rantzen, the founder of Childline, said: “Throughout this pandemic, children and young people have had to deal with so many difficult new challenges, many knowing that their families were struggling with health worries and financial issues, some locked down in unsafe homes, deprived of their schools which may have been their only refuge. Many have told Childline that they have struggled to cope and their mental health has suffered as a result.

“Childline’s counsellors have been tremendously impressed by the resilience of so many young people during the pandemic, supporting themselves and each other. Nevertheless, we are all only too aware that not only education has suffered, but so has the opportunity to play. My grandchildren have told me how much they have missed their friends during lockdown. Play is such an important part of childhood, building confidence and creating relationships. After the year we’ve had, I am really looking forward to joining my own family on Childhood Day. I do hope as many families as possible will be able to do the same, to enjoy each other’s company and have fun and play together.

“I want to remind children everywhere that Childline is always there for them, no matter how big or small their problem, offering comfort and support which is free, confidential, on the phone or online.”

First Response Training (FRT) is a leading national training provider delivering courses in subjects such as health and safety, first aid, fire safety, manual handling, food hygiene, mental health, health and social care, safeguarding 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 Safeguarding Children.

A trainer from FRT says: “Children and young people have missed out on so much during the past year as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic, while many vulnerable children have been in unsafe situations with little support or anyone able to notice and help.

“The pandemic has clearly taken a serious toll on youth mental health and it’s important that support for them is prioritised in our communities.”

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 [email protected]