Childline prepared for rise in young people seeking help this Christmas

Dedicated volunteers make sure children have somewhere to turn 24 hours a day, 365 days a year

Woman on phone

Childline is prepared for potential rise in young people contacting the service as relationship tensions among families come to a head over the festive period.

Childline figures show there has been a significant jump in children and young people reaching out for help, advice and support on Christmas Day and Boxing Day over the last 2 years:

  • 24% rise on Christmas Day
  • 32% rise on Boxing Day.

Counsellors will be working around the clock throughout the festive period to make sure someone is always there to listen. Family relationships were the most common concern for children and young people on Christmas Day and Boxing Day last year.

5% rise in Childline counselling sessions in the last 2 years for the 12 days of Christmas

Explanation: Across the 12 Days of Christmas (Dec 24-Jan 4) there was an overall increase of 5% in the number of counselling sessions handled by Childline over the last two years, with 8,660 children and young people reaching out for help, support and advice in 2015/16 compared to 8,287 in 2013/14.

Most counselling sessions on Christmas day and Boxing Day are with 12-15 year olds

Explanation: Where age was known, 59% of counselling sessions on Christmas day and 58% on Boxing Day in 2015 were with young people aged between 12 and 15.

Christmas tensions

Christmas can exacerbate the struggles and pressures felt by families over the course of the year, often pushing them to their limits as they spend more time together during the festive period.

Young people told Childline about:

  • feeling fed-up and worried about their parents arguing, often stemmed from financial problems or drinking too much alcohol
  • low moods and unhappiness
  • bereavement
  • anxiety about going back to school.

Worryingly, some young people admitted to feeling so unhappy they were having panic attacks and even harming themselves.

"I have not self-harmed for over a month but I find Christmas really hard and am finding it tough to keep myself safe. I have lost both my brother and grandmother and I really miss them at Christmas."
Young person who contacted Childline

Peter Wanless, NSPCC CEOPeter Wanless, Chief Executive at the NSPCC, said:
"Christmas Day and Boxing Day should be some of the happiest days of the year with families getting the chance to spend quality time together.

"Sadly a growing number of children and young people face a different reality, with December 25 and 26 bringing them only stress, tension and misery.

"It is important for them to know that Childline doesn't close for Christmas, with our dedicated volunteers working day and night over the festive period to help any child or young person in need of advice or support, be it online or over the phone."