Under pressure: ChildLine annual review 2013/14 What children are contacting ChildLine about

Girl sat on sofaChildLine provided over 290,000 counselling sessions to children and young people last year. Children contact us all times of day and night by phone, email and by 1-2-1 online chat.

Our annual review looks at what children talk about when they contact us. It looks at who contacts us and how. It focuses on the areas that have seen the biggest increase over the last year: mental health conditions; eating disorders; online abuse and safety; and school and education problems. It also includes a breakdown of statistics for each UK nation.

Author: ChildLine
Published: 2015

  • We provided over 290,000 counselling sessions to children and young people in 2013/14.
  • The 3 main worries young people contacted us about were: family relationships; low self-esteem and unhappiness; and self-harm.
  • Two thirds of our counselling sessions relate to mental health, including self-harm, suicide, low self-esteem, unhappiness, depression, diagnosable mental health conditions, eating disorders and body image issues.
  • Over 80,000 counselling sessions related to family relationships including divorce, separation and conflicts in the family.
  • Nearly 50,000 counselling sessions mentioned abuse or neglect, including over 18,000 sessions about physical abuse, over 15,000 sessions about sexual abuse and over 12,000 about emotional abuse.
  • Over 35,000 counselling sessions mentioned school and education problems.
  • Almost 11,000 counselling sessions related to a young person’s concerns about another child.
  • There have been significant increases in the numbers of children talking about online sexual abuse, online bullying, mental health conditions, eating disorders and school and educational problems.
  • Two thirds of our counselling sessions take place online rather than by phone.
  • The ChildLine website received over 3 million visits.
  • We made almost 2,000 referrals to external agencies, such as the police or children’s services. This happens when a child or young person is in immediate life-threatening danger, or is facing significant harm or has requested direct help.
Foreword from Peter Liver, director of ChildLine Services 3
Introduction to Childline’s Annual Review 2013 – 2014 by Dame Esther Rantzen 5
Executive summary 8
Key stats 12
Reasons why children and young people contact ChildLine 13
Who contacts ChildLine? 16
Referrals 24
Mental health conditions 27
Eating disorders 35
Online abuse and safety 43
School and education problems 50

"I used to self-harm to help me cope with my depression but recently it's just become a habit because it doesn't make me feel better anymore. I'm so depressed and angry all the time. I wish I could be happy but I know it's hopeless – I've been miserable for so long. I've thought about speaking to my parents about how I feel but I know it will upset them so I can't. I want to end my life because I just can't cope anymore. I feel so alone and isolated."

"Thank you ChildLine for helping me put a plan in place to help me deal with my problems. I feel like I'm slowly finding ways to help me feel better."

Please cite as: NSPCC (2015)  Under pressure: ChildLine review: what's affected children in April 2013 – March 2014. London: NSPCC

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