Belfast Telegraph

Childline expecting explosion in calls over Christmas

By Cate McCurry

Hundreds of desperate children are expected to turn to Childline this Christmas because of fears of family tensions.

The charity said there had been a jump in the number of children and young people reaching out for help, advice and support on Christmas Day and Boxing Day over the past two years.

The NSPCC is also preparing for a surge in the number of children and young people contacting it during the festive season, when family tensions can often come to a head.

On Christmas Day last year, the two Childline bases in Belfast and Foyle carried out 28% of all the charity's counselling sessions that took place across the UK, and on Boxing Day they accounted for 25% of all sessions.

Nearly two-thirds of the counselling sessions delivered by the organisation were deemed to be of a serious nature.

The charity said Christmas could exacerbate the struggles and pressures felt by any family during the course of the year, often pushing people to their limits as they spent more and more time together.

Worries about family relationships topped a list of concerns expressed to the charity.

Many children and young people also reported feeling fed-up and worried about their parents arguing.

They explained that such disagreements often stemmed from financial problems and excessive consumption of alcohol. Low moods and unhappiness were other major reasons cited for contacting Childline over the festive period.

Bereavement and anxiety about going back to school were also given as reasons for youngsters feeling miserable.

Childline can be contacted any time by calling 0800 1111

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