EDITOR - ChildLine volunteers in the East Midlands ChildLine base are keeping lines open over the holidays to answer calls from children.
Over the 12 days of Christmas last year (December 24, 2010 to January 5, 2011), ChildLine volunteers at the East Midlands base answered 567 cries for help from young people in Lincolnshire and beyond.
Children across the UK contacted ChildLine 2,373 times for in-depth online or telephone counselling on Christmas Day last year alone.
Family relationship problems, bullying and sexual abuse were the most common reasons for children to contact ChildLine over the Christmas holidays last year.
Nearly one in six counselling sessions (13 per cent) were about depression, self harm or suicide.
Last year, the number of children contacting the 24-hour service about suicide over Christmas and New Year rose above the average for the year1 with around 23 emails, phone calls and online chats per day from children who were feeling suicidal over the festive season.
ChildLine’s volunteer counsellors give up their time throughout the festive period to enable the charity’s helpline to stay open 365 days a year. East Midlands ChildLine service manager, Ziv Israeli says the volunteers are a vital lifeline for children who feel they have nowhere else to turn.
She said: “On New Year’s Eve, when most people are heading out for a night on the town, ChildLine volunteers in the East Midlands will be taking calls and messages from children who need someone to talk to.
“We couldn’t keep ChildLine open for children without their amazing commitment and dedication.
“While Christmas and New Year can be a time of celebration, for some young people the festivities can make their problems feel even more distressing.”
Ziv added: “We urgently need more volunteers in at our East Midlands ChildLine base in Nottingham to enable us to continue to respond to children’s cries for help throughout the year, particularly during the evenings and weekends. So, if you are interested in becoming a ChildLine volunteer, we would love to hear from you.”
For more information about becoming a volunteer, contact Catriona Wynne on 0207 539 6016 or visit www.nspcc.org.uk/getinvolved
Kate Brudenell, NSPCC