Loneliness is increasingly becoming a massive problem for young people growing up in society today, with girls being more affected by the problem.
According to ChildLine, thousands of young people are reaching out to the helpline to tackle feelings of loneliness and isolation as they struggle with the pressures of growing up.
Founder and President of ChildLine Dame Esther Rantzen said: “I think we in the adult world are addicted to being busy, and that our children and young people are suffering as a result.
“Of course many of us have to work hard, couples may need to take on several jobs to boost their income, but sometimes that leaves too little time for the people we care about most, our children.
“So ChildLine has become the place young people choose to confide in. They tell us that we make them they feel valued, so they have the confidence to talk about their feelings of loneliness,” she added.
Childline began recording loneliness as a specific issue of concern after counsellors saw a rise in young people contacting the helpline about feeling misunderstood or isolated.
In 2016-17, there were 4,063 ChildLine counselling sessions about loneliness, and 73 per cent of those sessions were carried out with girls.
ChildLine counsellors were told:
- Young people compare themselves to others on social media, making them feel 'ugly' and 'unpopular'
- Other young people may feel lonely if they're struggling to fit in after moving house or schools
- Falling out with friends or losing someone close to them can add to feelings of isolation
- Some teenagers spent a lot of time in their bedrooms or online when they felt low, which made feelings worse
- Some young people reported self-harming as a coping mechanism
- Others felt so low they contemplated suicide.
The helpline has some advice and support for young people who feel lonely or isolated.