Anxiety a rising concern in young people contacting Childline

Worrying news comes as Childline marks its 30th anniversary

Girl with phone

There has been a sharp rise in young people facing anxiety in the last year. Our figures reveal:

Causes ranged from personal and family issues to concerns about world affairs such as the EU Referendum, the US Election and troubles in the Middle East.

Research indicates the reasons for the sharp rise are down to a combination of personal and political issues, with some young people talking to counsellors about problems in their day-to-day life while others cite disturbing events seen in the media and social media as being the source of their worries.

Supporting children with anxiety:

  • listen carefully to a child's fears and worries
  • offer reassurance and comfort and avoid complicated and worrying explanations that could leave them more frightened and confused
  • help them find advice and support to understand distressing events and feelings
  • children can always contact Childline free and confidentially 24/7.

"Things like the EU referendum and the US election make me worry about my future and how things are going to change. I feel really sorry for the refugees because it isn’t their fault that their country is at war."
Teenage girl who contacted Childline

Esther Rantzen, President of ChildlineDame Esther Rantzen, President of Childline said:
"At Childline we know children and young people are sometimes frightened and distressed by events in the wider world.

"Seeing pictures of crying and bewildered toddlers being pulled from bomb-damaged homes upsets all of us. Often we fail to notice the impact these stories are having on young people. The good news is that so many children are able to express their anxiety to Childline, knowing that we will take them seriously, so that we are able to reassure them.

"Childline will always be there for any problem, just as we have been for 30 years, as we tell the children 'if it matters to you, it matters to us'."

"I’m really worried about what is going on in the world. People have talked about a world war starting and I get really scared thinking about this."
Young boy who contacted Childline


  1. In 2015/16 Childline dealt with 11,706 counselling sessions with children and young people who mentioned anxiety (976 average per month). This was an increase of 35% from the previous year – up from 8,642 counselling sessions in 14/15.

  2. In the last 6 months of 2016/17 (April – September) the service has dealt with almost 6,500 counselling sessions about anxiety (1,082 average per month).