Big increase in calls to Childline during pandemic
The NSPCC has seen a 16 per cent increase in calls to their helplines per month with children calling about the pandemic.
One 16-year-old girl said she felt terrified of her parents catching the virus and another claimed to be washing their hands to the point where they were bleeding.
One 13-year-old girl called saying: “I’ve found being inside for so long really difficult. I keep checking my phone and getting upset when nobody is talking to me.
"I feel so lonely and have started binge eating. Before lockdown, I had been quite happy, but now being inside all the time has made me start hurting myself and hating myself.”
These symptoms, atypical of mental health disorders such as anxiety and depression, have seen a sharp upward curve in ‘lost’ feeling young people calling the helpline for advice.
The service has delivered between 5,000 to 7,000 counselling sessions every month on this issue with the numbers fluctuating throughout the year as the situation changes and Covid restrictions were lifted and re-imposed.
However, despite the influx of calls the volunteer team has been reduced by 30%. The charity is now appealing for volunteers and members of the public to help in any way they can.
As cases rise in West Norfolk and the NHS becomes overwhelmed, it is likely that school closures will cause children to feel more anxious and isolated over the coming months.
Childline Founder and President, Dame Esther Rantzen said: “With schools now shut again and children spending more time behind closed doors, it is absolutely paramount that we all come together to support children and help ensure theimpact of the pandemic does not continue on into adulthood.
“With the right help and support, these children can go on to have full and happy lives.
“Therefore, I encourage anyone who can to join the NSPCC in their mission to make 2021 a better year for children.”
Neil Homer, who is 53 years old and works in telecoms has volunteered for Childline since 2009 has said: “I’ve heard first-hand the devastating impact the pandemic has had on children’s mental health and well-being.
“As children’s lives continue to be impacted by the pandemic, it is vital that myself and my fellow volunteer counsellors continue to be here to listen to children’s worries and support them. However, we currently can’t answer every child so, if you can, please signup and volunteer for Childline and help us reach every child who needs our support.”
Visit https://nspcc.org.uk for more information on how to help, donate and volunteer.