Christmas brings rise in contacts about bereavement

1 in 10 counselling sessions last December were about children missing loved ones

Christmas can be the saddest time of year for many children. And that's why we're urging families of children who've lost loved ones to look out for signs they're struggling to cope during the festivities.

More children contact ChildLine about bereavement in the run up to Christmas than any other time of the year. Some children told ChildLine counsellors they couldn't express their feelings to anyone else and were left to carry their grief alone. Others said they found the first Christmas after bereavement especially difficult as traditional family gatherings made their absence more painful.

"I recently lost my brother to suicide and this is the first Christmas without him. I miss him so much. I wish we could be one big happy family again as my family mean everything to me."
Boy / Age unknown


1 in 10 counselling sessions about bereavement took place in December.

Explanation: From 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 there were 5,174 counselling sessions about loss and bereavement, a 7% increase compared to the previous year (4,830). In December 2014 there were 522 counselling sessions (303 girls, 59 boys and 160 gender unknown) – a 27% increase compared to December 2013.

Children as young as 7 contacted Childline about family and friends who'd died.

Explanation: From 1 April 2014 to 31 March 2015 there were 5,174 counselling sessions about loss and bereavement, a 7% increase compared to the previous year (4,830). In December 2014 there were 522 counselling sessions (303 girls, 59 boys and 160 gender unknown) – a 27% increase compared to December 2013.

Peter Wanless, CEO

Peter Wanless, Chief Executive at the NSPCC, said:
"At a time of year when the emphasis is on celebrating, many children and young people who've suffered a bereavement really struggle if they feel they have to hide their sadness away. They need to know it's ok to feel upset and that they don't need to put on a brave face.

"Every 25 seconds a child contacts ChildLine and our volunteers are here all day and night, including though the festive period, whenever children need someone to listen – on the phone and online. But ChildLine can only be there with the support of the public. So I hope more people will get behind our Call For Help appeal this Christmas to ensure the service is here whenever a child finds the courage to call."

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"My Mum died and it feels like someone has ripped my heart out. I can’t stop crying and I sometimes think about hurting myself. This will be a horrible Christmas. I don’t want to go back to school, because everyone will see me crying. I’m glad I can tell ChildLine how I am feeling."
Girl / Early teens

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