Almost 90,000 counselling sessions were carried out to by Childline advisers to children concerned about their mental health and wellbeing last year.
Children’s charity the NSPCC has become increasingly concerned over the last year about the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and lockdowns on the mental health of children as well as concerns for the protection of children living in homes that are not safe.
A 10 year old boy told the NSPCC: “I’m feeling really sad and upset that I can’t spend time with friends and play with them because of another lockdown.”
“I’m not returning to school for another five or six weeks and the news about the number of deaths from COVID-19 has made me more scared. I don’t feel like I can tell my mum how I feel inside as it will upset her.”
The data from the helpline showed that between 1 April 2020 to 31 March 2021 showed that:
- 73,088 counselling sessions were carried out on the subject of mental or emotional health
- 5,646 of these counselling sessions were with children aged 11 or under, an increase of nearly a third (29%) when compared to the year before
- There were 16,610 counselling sessions carried out about abuse
- Counselling sessions about emotional abuse increased by 18% when compared to the previous year.
“We’ve seen that many children have been proactive in taking steps to support their own emotional wellbeing during this time. More young people have been accessing our online Childline resources, information and tools to support their mental health in ways that are helpful to them,” said a statement from the NSPCC.
“Now we want to see the government invest in a plan for children that goes beyond catching up on lessons and includes more mental health support both in the classroom and in the community,” the statement concluded.