Childline to deliver round the clock support to children over Christmas period
Childline, the counselling service run by the NSPCC, will be providing round the clock support to thousands of children and young people this festive season.
Last year, the service delivered 5,501 counselling sessions across the UK during the 12 days of Christmas (December 24 to January 4) – averaging out at around 450 per day – with volunteers and staff working right through the festive holiday.
In particular, last Christmas, Childline saw an increase in children seeking support with worries related to family relationships compared to the year before.
Counsellors delivered 584 counselling sessions on this issue; a 7% increase compared to the 12 days of Christmas the previous year.
For some young people, spending an extended amount of time at home with their family can lead to tensions or amplify existing issues and this can leave many children feeling upset and isolated.
Family related concerns that children shared with Childline last Christmas included increased family conflict, facing Christmas without a loved one and struggling to cope with mental health or family members who have mental health issues.
Callers also raised concerns about parents or carers drinking more than usual over the Christmas period and feeling worried or guilty about Christmas placing additional financial pressure on their family.
Some young people who struggle with eating or body issues report feeling pressure at Christmas time to eat more than usual leading them to try to hide disordered eating habits from friends and family.
Ashley from north Wales said : “Christmas was a very difficult time when I was a child and I’m only now learning to enjoy this time of year. How the day went would totally depend on my mum’s mood, she would either be hungover or would start drinking in the morning.
“I used to feel so anxious when the Christmas season was approaching as I knew how it would end, blazing arguments, tears and anger usually aimed at me. A child should never have to feel unsafe and anxious like I did each year.”
A 17-year-old from Wales said: “I was assaulted by someone in my family when I was younger. I feel my parents are manipulative and they don’t care about what happened to me. They want me to see this person at Christmas.
“This would make me feel really uncomfortable, but I think my parents would get angry with me if I refuse to go.”
Louise Israel Childline Manager at NSPCC Cymru said: “Our trained counsellors know that sadly not every child feels happy over Christmas.
“It can be a high-pressured time for families, and in Wales we hear from scores of children during the twelve days of Christmas who need our help and support.
“For some the issues they encounter all year round can worsen over the festive season and for others it can present new concerns.
“With schools closed and children having limited access to wider support networks, we know for those who are struggling that Childline can be a lifeline.”
To enable the charity to be there for all children this festive season, visit the NSPCC website to donate to the charity’s Christmas appeal. Just £4 could help a counsellor answer a call.
People can also help raise vital funds for the service by rallying your friends and family to sign up to the Walk for Children and walk 5k on the 22 nd of December.
Anyone who is interested in becoming a Childline Volunteer should visit the NSPCC website to find out more.
Children can contact Childline on 0800 1111 or childline.org.uk
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