Childline help for youngsters

ChildLine volunteers have been keeping lines open over the holidays to ensure children in Ayrshire have someone to turn to.

Over the Christmas and New Year period last year, the number of children contacting the 24-hour service about suicide over Christmas and New Year rose above the average for the year with around 23 emails, phone calls and online chats every day from children who were feeling suicidal over the festive season.

Family relationship prob- lems, bullying and sexual abuse were the most common reasons for children to contact ChildLine over the holidays. Nearly one in six counselling sessions were about depression, self-harm or suicide.

Volunteer counsellors give up their time throughout the festive period to enable the charity’s helpline to stay open 365 days a year. Director of ChildLine Peter Liver says the volunteers are a vital lifeline for children who feel they have nowhere else to turn.

“On New Year’s Eve, when most people are heading out for a night on the town, ChildLine volunteers will be taking calls and messages from children who need someone to talk to because, 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.”

Some of their problems were set out in stark reality when children were asked what they wanted their parents’ New Year’s resolutions to be.

Messages coming into the charity included: “I would want my parents to stop arguing, to understand that although there are walls in the house, it doesn’t mean that I can’t hear what is going on.”

Another pleaded: “I would ask my dad to stop drinking and smoking as it is hurting others around him other than himself.”

While a third’s request was simple: “For my mum to stop hitting me. That’s all I want.”

ChildLine will be there to help those children who need someone to turn to throughout the festive period, 24 hours a day, seven days a week. They can speak to a counsellor online at childline.org.uk or on the telephone – the number is 0800 1111.