Over 105,000 Childline counselling sessions in the past year were for children struggling with mental health issues

This World Mental Health Day, we encourage children to speak out about any mental health concerns they might have

  • Mental and emotional health and wellbeing is the top reason children contact Childline
  • 30,000 of these counselling sessions were specifically related to stress and anxiety
  • We have information and advice on supporting children with their mental health

In 2022/23, our Childline service delivered more than 105,000 counselling sessions on mental and emotional health and wellbeing. Out of these, more than 30,000 were specifically related to stress and anxiety. 

Today (10 October) is World Mental Health Day. We are raising awareness of the struggles children and young people are facing with their mental health, and letting them know that they are never alone. 

We are also calling for the government to commit to funding and delivering Mental Health Support Teams across all schools and colleges in England, in order to reach every pupil who needs help. The current target of access for 50% of pupils by April 2025 lacks the sense of urgency needed.

Children being able to acess this early intervention support can prevent young people's mental health problems from getting worse and reaching crisis point.

One girl, aged 16, told Childline*: 

“I’m exhausted and feel like everything is falling apart. My friends are all stressed and depressed. My parents are fighting constantly with me trying to mediate. Then there’s exams as well.

"It’s all so stressful. I can’t remember what it’s like to be a carefree child”.


Childline is a safe space for anyone under 19 who is seeking help and support. They have the option to speak to a counsellor over the phone, by online chat, or by email. 

Last year, Childline delivered almost 200,000 counselling sessions to children and young people, with about 75% of these taking place online.

The top 5 issues children and young people raised when speaking to Childline about their mental health were: 

One girl, aged 18, told Childline*: 

“I haven’t slept at all from worrying and can’t stop crying. I feel like I’m failing at everything, school, friendships, life, all of it. Even admitting I feel like this to my parents feels like failing.

"I didn’t know who else to talk to, then I remembered Childline. Thank you for helping me manage these emotions.”

Supporting children with their mental health

It can be hard for parents to accept that their child may be struggling with mental health issues, such as depression or anxiety. However, it is crucial that young people feel supported, reassured and not judged by the adults in their lives.

World Mental Health Day has a focus on driving a positive change for everyone’s mental health. Adults can support young people’s wellbeing in a range of ways, including:

  • letting them know you're there for them and are on their side
  • being patient and staying calm and approachable, even if their behaviour upsets you
  • recognising that their feelings are valid and letting them know it's okay for them to be open and honest about their emotions
  • thinking of healthy ways to cope together, like yoga, breathing exercises or mindfulness

If you have any concerns, or want more information and advice, you can contact the Helpline.

We have information pages on children's mental health, including depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and self harm. We also have support for parents who are struggling with their own mental health.

All children can speak to a trained counsellor on Childline, over the phone on 0800 1111, via email, or 1-2-1 chat. 

Children can also visit the Childline website for more information and advice on mental health and how to cope.


Shaun Friel, director of Childline, said: 

“Young people may struggle with a range of mental health issues throughout their childhood and adolescence. This can be a time of turbulence, and so it’s important that children feel supported and uplifted.

“Ensuring that young people have a network of support, whether that’s in school, with their peers, at home or through organisations such as Childline, helps young people take the first step to tackling these struggles. Childline is here for any child that may be struggling with their mental and emotional wellbeing.”


  • Childline delivered 105,366 counselling sessions where the child's main concern was all mental health and emotional health and wellbeing between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023. Out of these, 31,143 counselling sessions were related to stress and anxiety. 
  • Between 1 April 2022 and 31 March 2023, Childline delivered a total of 195,542 counselling sessions to children and young people. 

*Snapshots are based on real Childline service users but are not necessarily direct quotes.