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Calls to Aberdeen Childline centre more than double in one year

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Counsellors in Aberdeen have dealt with rising numbers of children seeking help for anxiety due to struggling to cope with modern day life, it emerged yesterday.

Childline counsellors in the city dealt with 1,120 calls from young people from across the UK with anxiety, compared to 552 the previous year.

At least 88% of the support was given to girls.

The charity base in Glasgow also saw a significant rise with 3,330 children getting in touch compared with 2,367 youngsters the previous year.

Individual teams deal with calls from all across Scotland.

Dame Esther Rantzen, the founder of Childline visited their offices in Aberdeen to appeal for volunteers for the service last year

The charity also revealed they were involved with 21,297 counselling sessions given to young people across the UK struggling to cope  – almost double that of two years ago.

Dame Esther Rantzen, the charity’s founder and president, stressed the importance of finding “effective answers” for the problem.

Dame Rantzen,who visited the Aberdeen office in 2017 to show her support for volunteer callers, said: “I am increasingly concerned at the huge rise in anxiety affecting our young people.

“It seems that the support they desperately need from family, friends, their schools or mental health professionals is either not there when they need it, or is failing them.

“We must ask why for some young people is the world becoming such a difficult place?

“Unless we find effective answers to this question we know the anxieties they suffer from can get worse, leading to suicidal thoughts or chronic mental health problems as they get older.”

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Since Aberdeen Childline’s official opening in 2004, the centre has helped a total of 132,230 children who got in touch to talk about bullying, neglect, abuse and family relationships.

They were also concerned about eating problems, issues with relationships, school homework and exams.

Some of the children who called the Aberdeen base also experienced problems with other mental health issues such as depression and obsessive compulsive disorder, while others reported having suffered abuse, neglect or bereavement.

Aberdeen supervisor Anita Govan will be answering calls on Christmas Day along with a team of volunteers, and expects a high number of children to get in touch.

She said: “The volunteers are absolutely wonderful – they are our everyday heroes. It is amazing that they come into the base on Christmas Day in their own time, travel in and leave their families and relatives to talk to children.”

The news comes just days after it was revealed that seven out of 10 teachers feel they lack the training to help pupils with mental health problems.

The findings of a survey carried out by the Mental Health Foundation Scotland showed that when it came to helping pupils with mental health difficulties, 71% said they lacked the skills to do this – with only 13% of teachers having received mental health first aid training.

Childline is available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, on 0800 1111.




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