Childline experiencing unprecedented demand

Northern Ireland’s two bases at Belfast and Foyle held 101 counselling sessions with young people

CHILDLINE has experienced an unprecedented demand for its services as the Covid-19 pandemic starts to affect lives.

Across Britain and Northern Ireland, there have been more than 900 counselling sessions about coronavirus so far.

Nearly two thirds of these took place last week as parents started working from home and school closures were announced.

Northern Ireland’s two bases at Belfast and Foyle held 101 counselling sessions with young people concerned about the global pandemic between January 21, 2020 and March 22, 2020.

Support hit a peak on Wednesday, March 18 - the day Prime Minister Boris Johnson confirmed schools would.

Mairead Monds, Childline service manager for Belfast, said: “The 24/7 news cycle about coronavirus is causing huge worry and anxiety in young people – particularly those who are already coping with many other issues in their lives.

“Childline provides an essential service to vulnerable children, some of whom may be in a life-threatening situation, which is why our staff and volunteers are working tirelessly to keep Childline running.

“While we are all facing events unprecedented in modern time keeping children safe and providing them with a space to talk about their concerns is our number one priority.”

Meanwhile, Parentline NI has said it too has received a high volume of calls over the last 10 days.

The most common calls have ranged from anxiety due to contact issues related to separation, substance misuse, boundaries in general but particularly with teenagers, parental mental health and the helpline has taken calls relating to teenagers who are feeling suicidal.

“We want to assure families across Northern Ireland that there will be no interruption in the provision of our vital service during this challenging time,” said Parentline’s Nichola Greene.

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