Our Childline service saw counselling sessions about loneliness peak over the festive period last year, with a record number of nearly 600 sessions provided on this topic in December alone1.
Many children and young people struggle with loneliness and isolation. During the pandemic, with schools closed and children forced to stay home, these feelings were heightened for many young people. Our Childline counsellors have also found these experiences were more prominent over the festive period last year when households were unable to mix.
From April 2020 to March 2021 there were 6,039 counselling sessions about loneliness, marking an all-time high for a single year. This is an increase of nearly half (49%) over the past four years.
We’ve seen a particular increase in younger children affected by loneliness. In 2020/21, there was a 47% increase in counselling sessions with children aged 11 and under when compared to the year before.
Young people who contacted Childline about loneliness also talked about being unhappy, feeling unloved and generally low. Some described it as a dark experience that was overwhelming. As well as loneliness, the top reasons children turn to the service for support with their mental health include:
- low mood