Childline raise concerns about mental health as counselling sessions delivered to children passes 50,000

Childline, the NSPCC's service for young people, has reported a 16% increase in the number of counselling sessions about mental health with children aged 11 and under.  We need more volunteers to join us and help support them during the pandemic.


Between April and December 2020, Childline delivered 54,926 counselling sessions to children and young people.But it saw a 16% increase in the average number of mental health counselling sessions for children aged 11 and under,and a 10% rise in counselling sessions about loneliness across all age groups.3

Over the past ten months, Childline's trained counsellors have heard first-hand about the devasting impact that the coronavirus pandemic has had on young people's mental health. Children who contacted the service frequently spoke about loneliness, low mood and self-esteem, depression and anxiety. 

Some have been feeling isolated and overwhelmed due to concerns about family members catching the virus, or school closures and cancelled exams - while others have felt cut off from support networks and are missing family and friends.  

"I feel really sad and lonely. I need to talk to someone because I don’t really have anyone right now. I am really struggling with the whole isolation thing. Most days I find myself just lost in my own thoughts and feeling numb. I am classed as a vulnerable person, so my isolation lasts for 12 weeks, which seems like a lifetime."
A 16-year-old who contacted Childline

Childline founder and president, Dame Esther Rantzen said:


"With schools now shut again and children spending more time behind closed doors, it is absolutely imperative that Childline is there for them. 

"Many young people, especially those in unsafe homes, are feeling desperately anxious and depressed.  School can be the only safe haven they know, and without that support they feel entirely alone.   For them, Childline is literally a life-line.  But the service urgently needs more volunteers to listen to and support children, and more funds to pay for their calls and on-line contacts, and for that we depend upon the generosity and compassion of the public. It is the NSPCC’s mission to make 2021 a better year for children, and with your help we can make this dream a reality.”

Other ways to help

Volunteering for Childline is just one of the ways to help make 2021 a better year for children. But there are lots of other ways to support our important work. You can take on a challenge like, Kick the Caffeine, to raise funds, or sign up to one of our many events, including running, cycling and trek challenges. We also have lots of ideas about how to fundraise in lockdown, too. 

Around 90% of our income is donated which means we can only be here for children with the help and support of people like you. 

"I’ve heard first-hand the devastating impact the pandemic has had on children’s mental health and wellbeing. As children’s lives continue to be impacted by the pandemic, it is vital that myself and my fellow volunteer counsellors continue to be here to listen to children’s worries and support them. However, we currently can’t answer every child so, if you can, please sign up and volunteer for Childline and help us reach every child who needs our support"
Neil Homer, a Childline volunteer since 2009


Names have been changed to protect identities. Any photographs are posed by models.


  1. 1. There were 54,926 counselling sessions with children and young people who contacted Childline for support with mental and emotional health issues between April 2020 to Dec 2020.

  2. 2. The monthly average of counselling sessions on mental health for children aged 11 and under increased by 16% from 415 in the pre-lockdown period from January to March to 480 in the post lockdown period from April to December.

  3. 3. The average number of counselling sessions about loneliness with children of all ages increased by 10% from 447 in the pre-lockdown period from January to March to 491 in post lockdown period from April to December.