CHILDLINE ADVICE: Really listen if your child tells you that they’re feeling lonely

This week, I’d like to talk about loneliness, which is the theme of Mental Health Awareness Week 2022 (May 9-15).

By The Newsroom
Monday, 9th May 2022, 12:00 am
Sharing feelings can help things feel less overwhelming and help young people feel less alone.
Sharing feelings can help things feel less overwhelming and help young people feel less alone.

At Childline, we often hear from children who are struggling with loneliness and isolation, and during the pandemic these feelings were heightened for many young people.

Last year, we revealed that we delivered 6,039 counselling sessions about loneliness between April 2020 and March 2021, marking an all-time high for a single year.

We know that it can be difficult for parents and carers to recognise when their child may be struggling with their mental health, and equally difficult for them to know how to offer their support.

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This Mental Health Awareness Week, we would encourage parents to take the opportunity to start a conversation with their children about how they are feeling and if they have any worries.

We know how hard it can be to trust and talk to other people but sharing feelings can help things feel less overwhelming and help young people feel less alone.

If your child does tell you that they are feeling lonely or struggling, make sure they know they can talk to you about their feelings, that you are really listening to them and value what they are telling you.

And of course, they can also get in contact with our Childline counsellors on the phone or online. This Mental Health Awareness Week and any other time – we’re available around the clock, every day of the year.

If they’re not ready or comfortable chatting to one of our trained counsellors, our Childline website has lots of resources for children and young people to support them with their mental health.

Moderated message boards provide a safe space for young people to connect, share worries, and get support from peers. The Artbox lets children write or draw to help communicate their feelings, and Childline’s Calm Zone has lots of tools and exercises to help them when they are feeling overwhelmed.

As always, there’s more advice and information for parents at www.nspcc.org.uk and you can email [email protected] for further support

Children can call Childline on 0800 1111 or they can get in touch via www.childline.org.uk.