CHILDLINE have seen a surge in children aged 11 and under reaching out with mental health concerns.
Since the start of lockdown, Childline have delivered almost 22,000 counselling sessions, including almost 2,000 with children aged 11 and under, an increase of 37% from data prior to lockdown.
The pandemic has had a significant effect on young children, with many stating that they are overwhelmed and anxious about the easing of lockdown.
Further, some children talked to Childline about family relationships, sharing that arguments, increased parental stress levels and abusive home environments are impacting their mental health.
Worringly, the average number of counselling sessions about abuse has increased by around a quarter since lockdown began.
Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline said: “The Coronavirus pandemic
has turned children’s lives upside down, cutting them off from the
places they have relied upon in the past for comfort and support. During
lockdown, the virus has imprisoned them in homes which may not be safe,
with emotional and physical abuse, violence, or neglect. This has meant
many young people have turned to Childline as their only lifeline, and
have shared with us that they are unable to cope, and are desperate for
help. We know that by providing children with a safe, confidential way
to share their anxiety, as well as timely support so they can describe
their feelings, we can help to prevent their problems totally
The NSPCC has joined 150 other charities that are calling on the Prime Minister and Chancellor to place children on par with health and the economy when considering the country’s recovery from COVID-19. In order for this to happen, more investment is needed to support children’s mental health and wellbeing.
Peter Wanless, CEO of NSPCC, said: “There is no doubt that the
Coronavirus pandemic has had a direct impact on the mental health of
many of our children and young people across the country. It is
concerning that we have seen an increase in children under 11 reaching
out to us for support, emphasising that the impact of this pandemic is
being felt by our youngest children too.
It is imperative that Childline can continue to be there to ensure
that young people are supported to cope and recover from the aftermath
of this crisis. We also need to see this backed up by an ambitious
recovery plan that ensures children can access the vital services they
need to begin to move forwards.”
In light of this, funding for the Still Here for Children appeal is very important. The charity is asking for the public to donate £10 so it can continue to run services like Childline that are providing vital support to children during the pandemic.
Young people can contact Childline on: 0800 1111 or via a 1-2-1 chat on: https://www.childline.org.uk/