Childline prepares for New Year surge in calls

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ChildLine counsellors will be keeping phone lines open over the holidays to ensure children in Lancashire have someone to turn to.

Over the 12 days of Christmas last year (December 24th 2010 to January 5th 2011), ChildLine North West’s counsellors answered 959 cries for help from young people, including those in Lancashire.

Children across the UK contacted ChildLine 2,373 times for in-depth online or telephone counselling on Christmas Day alone.

Family relationship problems, bullying and sexual abuse were the most common reasons for children to contact ChildLine over the Christmas holidays last year. Nearly one in six counselling sessions (13%) were about depression, self harm or suicide.

Last year, the number of children contacting the 24-hour service about suicide over Christmas and New Year rose above the average for the year with around 23 emails, phone calls and online chats a day from children who were feeling suicidal over the festive season.

ChildLine’s volunteer counsellors give up their time throughout the festive period to enable the charity’s helpline to stay open 365 days a year. Director of ChildLine Peter Liver says the volunteers are a vital lifeline for children who feel they have nowhere else to turn.

“On New Year’s Eve, when most people are heading out for a night on the town, ChildLine North West’s volunteers in Manchester and Liverpool will be taking calls and messages from children who need someone to talk to.

“We couldn’t keep ChildLine open for children without their amazing commitment and dedication.

“While Christmas and New Year can be a time of celebration, for some young people the festivities can make their problems feel even more distressing.”

Children who posted on ChildLine’s message boards about what they wanted their parents’ or carers’ New Year resolution to be said:

“I would want my parents to stop arguing, to understand that although there are walls in the house, it doesn’t mean I can’t hear what is going on. I can hear all the anger and shouting downstairs, especially at night, when I just want to close my eyes and sleep.”

“I would ask my dad to stop drinking and smoking as it is hurting others around him other than himself.

“For my mum to stop hitting me. That’s all I want.”

“For mum to understand how I actually feel.”

ChildLine will be there to help those children who need someone to turn to throughout the festive period, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. Children can speak to a counsellor online at childline.org.uk or by telephone on 0800 1111.