More than 300 children in Wales call Childline in past two years citing loneliness
More than 300 children in Wales have received counselling sessions from Childline in the past two years due to loneliness with many citing mental health issues, bullying and the effects of social media as contributing to feelings of isolation.
The latest figures from the NSPCC-supported service reveal that 313 sessions were delivered in that period – 159 in 2016/2017 and 154 in 2017/2018 – with the true figure likely to be higher with many callers not disclosing their country of origin to counsellors.
Across the UK Childline provided 4,636 counselling sessions in 2017/2018 – a 14 per cent rise on the previous year.
Girls received almost 80 per cent of sessions, with some pointing to the harmful effects of social media use and how comparing themselves to others online or watching people they thought were friends socialise without them made them feel increasingly isolated.
“Are you there?”
It comes as the NSPCC’s ‘Are you there?’ campaign is calling on the UK Government to provide funding to Childline so it can help more children and teenagers struggling with mental health issues.
One teenage boy told Childline:
“Recently I’ve been feeling really isolated and alone. I see all my friends having a good time on social media and it gets me down, I feel like no one cares enough to invite me. My mood is getting worse and now I’m just upset all the time and can’t stop crying. It’s affecting my school work and my mood swings are uncontrollable, it’s like everything is falling apart. I just don’t want to feel alone anymore.” (Boy, 16-18)
Childline founder, Dame Esther Rantzen, added: “Loneliness needs to be taken seriously because it is potentially damaging to children’s physical and mental health.
“The crucial question is what is causing this rise among the young?
“Are we all too busy to make space and time for our children? Is it that we have lost the habit of eating together?
“Or is it the illusion created by social networks that everyone else is liked, popular and enjoying a far more exciting life so they feel lonelier than ever?
“Whatever the reason it’s crucial that young people know they can always contact Childline to speak to someone who will listen and care about them.”
Almudena Lara, the NSPCC’s head of policy, said: “These Childline figures show that although we might not think of loneliness as something that affects young people. But children are increasingly seeking support about feeling alone and isolated.”Spotted something? Got a story? Send a Facebook Message | A direct message on Twitter | Email: News@Deeside.com
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