Childline reports over 1,000 Christmas calls from 'anxious and isolated' children

Childline, which is provided by the ISPCC, recently raised concerns over a small but worrying increase in the number of young people contacting the helpline making reference to self-harm.
Childline reports over 1,000 Christmas calls from 'anxious and isolated' children

Childline received more than 1,000 calls over the three-day Christmas period as concerns over family conflict, mental health issues and self-harm were raised by young people.

As reported in the Irish Examiner, a team of over 100 volunteers worked in different centres across the country on Christmas Eve, Christmas Day and St Stephens Day to receive the calls and texts made to the 24-hour charity helpline.

Childline, which is provided by the ISPCC, recently raised concerns over a small but worrying increase in the number of young people contacting the helpline making reference to self-harm.

Outlining the contacts Childline received in recent days, ISPCC Chief Executive John Church said: “While Christmas is often a time of great joy for children and young people, we know from those who turn to Childline that the magic of the season does not reach every child.

“This year, many children did not wake up to the kind of Christmas Day they had dreamed of. Tensions may have come to the surface in their homes, they may have struggled with challenges to their mental and emotional health, or there may have been an empty place at their table due to bereavement. Many turned to Childline to tell us how they felt anxious, upset and isolated.

“No matter what is on the mind of a child or young person on any day or night of the year, Childline is here to listen to them, believe them, support and empower them.

"This is made possible with thanks to the exceptional dedication of our Childline volunteers," he added.

"We are hugely grateful to them for their generosity in giving up their time at Christmas to help make sure every child and young person has somewhere they can turn."

Mr Church also thanked the public for their support, especially given the impact of the pandemic on fundraising.

According to a spokesperson for the organisation, 2021 is the first time December 24th and 26th were included in its data collation for Christmas. The spokesperson said many of the calls this Christmas period were made on December 26th, with themes broadly reflective of those from Christmas 2020.

You can contact Childline by calling 1800 66 66 66 or texting 50101.

If you have been affected by any of the issues raised in this article, you can also freephone the Samaritans 24 hours a day for confidential support at 116 123 or email jo@samaritans.org.

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