Childline sees dramatically increased calls during coronavirus lockdown

Children’s charity Childline has experienced an unprecedented demand for its services as the coronavirus lockdown takes hold, leading to calls for their staff to be designated as key workers.

The charity has received over 900 calls about coronavirus fears, almost 600 of them taking place last week alone (March 16-22) after all of the schools were closed to help prevent the spread of the virus.

Almost 20 per cent of these counselling sessions were delivered from the Aberdeen and Glasgow Childline bases.

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Childline has seen an unprecedented number of calls during coronavirus lockdown
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Over half of the young people who contacted Childline last week discussed issues with isolation and arguments at home and the removal of the support given to them by schools.

One teenage girl told a counsellor: ‘I feel really anxious, upset and lonely.

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‘The news has made my mental health worse but my CAMHS appointment has been cancelled and school has closed.

‘I'm stuck at home having a horrible time because my sisters are bullying me because I'm autistic.’

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This rise has lead the National Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children (NSPCC) Scotland to enter discussions with the Scottish Government to reclass Childline staff key worker status in a battle to keep the service running.

Dame Esther Rantzen, Founder of Childline, said: “Our dedicated volunteers are on the frontline supporting children through this public health emergency, and we couldn’t do it without them.

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‘Childline needs your help to let children and young people know that we are still here for them, and if they need someone to turn to, they can contact Childline via our website or on the phone.’

Peter Wanless, CEO of NSPCC, added: ‘The 24/7 news cycle about Coronavirus is causing huge worry and anxiety in young people – particularly those who are already coping with many other issues in their lives.

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‘Childline provides an essential service to vulnerable children, some of whom may be in a life-threatening situation, which is why our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to keep Childline running.

‘While we are all facing events unprecedented in modern time keeping children safe and providing them with a space to talk about their concerns is our number one priority.’

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As well as calling Childline’s free confidential helpline on 0800 11 11, young people can also send emails to trained counsellors or receive support online via one-to-one chat by visiting childline.org.uk or by downloading the For Me app