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A 'surge' of young people are expected to contact Childline at Christmas

Credit: PA Images

The NSPCC is preparing for a rise in the number of children and young people contacting Childline over Christmas.

Childline figures show there has been a significant increase in the amount of children reaching out for help, advice and support on Christmas Day and Boxing Day, in the last two years.

24%
increase in Christmas Day calls since 2013
32%
increase in Boxing Day calls since 2013

The charity say counsellors will be available around the clock over the festive period for young people to talk to.

Worries about family relationships topped the list of concerns that children spoke to Childline about on Christmas and Boxing Day last year.

Other concerns included:

  • Children and young people feeling fed-up and worried about their parents arguing, which often stemmed from financial problems or drinking too much
  • Low moods and unhappiness
  • Bereavement
  • Anxiety about going back to school

The most common age group to call Childline at this time of year are 12-15 year olds, with some callers admitting to feeling so unhappy they were having panic attacks and even harming themselves.

5%
increase in Childline calls across the 12 Days of Christmas over the last two years
8,660
children and young people calling the helpline during the festive period in last two years

Nearly two thirds of the counselling sessions handled by Childline were of a serious nature, meaning that counsellors classified the child or young person as being at serious risk, either from themselves or someone else.

Christmas Day and Boxing Day should be some of the happiest days of the year with families getting the chance to spend quality time together. Sadly a growing number of children and young people face a different reality, with December 25th and 26th bringing them only stress, tension and misery.It is important for them to know that Childline does not close for Christmas, with our dedicated volunteers working day and night over the festive period to help any child or young person in need of advice or support, be it online or over the phone.

– Des Mannion, Head of NSPCC Cymru Wales

Children and young people can contact Childline anytime on 0800 1111 or find support online at www.childline.org.uk