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Almost 400 children in Northern Ireland with mental health concerns contacted Childline during Covid-19 outbreak

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 (Jon Challicom/ChildLine/PA)

(Jon Challicom/ChildLine/PA)

(Jon Challicom/ChildLine/PA)

Almost 400 children in Northern Ireland with mental health concerns reached out for help during the Covid-19 lockdown.

Childline says it has seen an increase of more than 25% in young children in Northern Ireland getting in touch about their mental health and emotional well-being.

The NSPCC’s latest data reveals that since the beginning of lockdown there have been 373 counselling sessions carried out with children in Northern Ireland about mental health concerns.

The charity is calling on the Northern Ireland Executive to ensure that its coronavirus recovery plan prioritises the needs of children and young people including plans to provide adequate and appropriate support in both education and health, with a particular emphasis on identifying vulnerability and trauma and meeting children’s needs.

The NSPCC also wants to see increased investment in children’s emotional and mental well-being in schools and child and adolescent mental health support for children and young people required as a result of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Mairead Monds, head of Childline Belfast, said: “There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has had a direct impact on the mental health of many of our children and young people in Northern Ireland.

“It is vital that Childline can continue to be there to help support young people to cope and recover from the aftermath of this crisis.

“We also need to see this backed up by an ambitious recovery plan that ensures children can access the vital services they need to begin to move forwards.”

Belfast Telegraph