CHILDLINE ADVICE: Not all children will be looking forward to Christmastime
As the festive season gets into full swing, it’s easy to get swept up in the celebrations that December brings.
But, at Childline, we are sadly aware that for a lot of young people, this is the darkest month in more ways than one.
Last December, Childline delivered a record number of counselling sessions for a single month, and in 2020/21, we saw a 47% increase in contacts from children aged 11 and under regarding loneliness, compared to the previous year.
These feelings were worsened by lockdown and pandemic restrictions, but at a time when children might usually be enjoying festive celebrations, these feelings of loneliness were particularly hard.
We know Christmas can be a challenging time for children who suffer from abuse, neglect, or are struggling with their mental health.
That’s why it’s essential they know they have somewhere to turn, so we’re lighting up beacons of hope throughout the UK on December 21, the longest night of the year.
Sites in Sunderland and Cumbria are going green in the North-East, while iconic sites like London’s Battersea Power Station will also light up.
Hundreds of people across the UK will also support the NSPCC with a sponsored walk that night, helping to ensure we can be there for children every day of the year – even on Christmas Day.
While it’s free for children to contact our Childline service at any time of the day or night, it costs £4 for a counsellor to answer that call.
You may already have seen our Christmas appeal adverts, which feature our Childline counsellors talking to children who are struggling with loneliness and isolation, suicidal thoughts and physical abuse at Christmas.
We don’t know how many young people we’ll be speaking to this Christmas, but we do know that thousands of children will be struggling to cope.
They shouldn’t have to cope alone, and that’s why Childline is here.
For the price of a spiced latte or hot chocolate, you can help us to be there for children this Christmas and make a difference to the life of a child who might have nowhere else to turn.