Rise in Childline counselling sessions about loneliness

Thousands of young people are seeking help from Childline as they struggle to cope with loneliness and isolation

Teenage girl in cafe looking at mobile phoneChildline carried out 4,636 counselling sessions for loneliness in 2017/18 – a 14% rise on the previous year1. Young people spoke to Childline about struggling with feelings of isolation and loneliness due to mental health issues, bullying and social media use.

Girls received almost 80% of sessions, some of who shared concerns about:

  • the harmful effects of social media use
  • how comparing themselves to others online made them feel increasingly isolated.

"I don’t feel like I fit in anywhere and have no friends. I hate being this unhappy but I can’t control it. I feel so alone. Whenever I think about the future I get scared that I’ll always be by myself because I’m not good looking or funny enough. It makes me stressed and anxious – I don’t know what to do."
16-year-old who contacted childline

Tips and advice for parents

We've got tips to help you have conversations with children who may be struggling to open up.

  • Start conversations when you won't be interrupted, like in the car or on a walk.
  • Try to keep calm if your child tells you something that alarms and upsets you.
  • If your child isn't ready to talk make sure you try again in a few days.
  • Take in what your child is telling you – it shows you value their feelings and opinions.

Are you there?

Young boy looking away from camera

Our 'Are you there?' campaign is calling on Government to provide funding to Childline so it can help more children and teenagers struggling with mental health issues.

Find out what our campaigners have helped us achieve so far and how you can give a voice to children when no one is listening.

Find out more

Headshot of Almudena Lara, Head of Policy and Public Affairs

Almudena Lara, NSPCC Head of Policy and Public Affairs, said:
"These Childline figures show that although we might not think of loneliness as something that affects young people. But children are increasingly seeking support about feeling alone and isolated.

"This year the Prime Minster announced a strategy on tackling loneliness and social isolation, and the NSPCC would urge those working on this taskforce to take children and how they are now engaging with the world fully into account."

*DISCLAIMER

All names and potentially identifying details have been changed to protect the identity of the child or young person. Quotes are created from real Childline contacts but are not necessarily direct quotes from the young person.


References

  1. 1. From 1 April 2017 – 31 March 2018 there were 4,636 counselling sessions carried out by Childline counsellors in relation to loneliness.