The NSPCC has launched the charity’s Call for Help Christmas campaign for Childline to ensure every child has someone to talk to.
The children’s charity is raising vital funds for services like Childline so every young person who gets in contact via the phone or online receives the support and advice they may desperately need.
Currently the free and confidential helpline for young people can only deal with three in every four of those that reach out for help. The ‘Call for Help’ campaign invites people to text GIFT to donate £4 on 60155.
The launch of the charity’s ‘Call for Help’ campaign follows figures revealed by Childline which shows that counsellors had carried out 1,039 counselling sessions on self-harm from children calling from Scotland in 2015-16. It’s the third-most frequent concern for children from Scotland contacting the free and confidential service, behind low self-esteem and family problems.
One 14-year-old boy who contacted Childline said: “Sometimes I get flashbacks from what happened when I was younger and I cope with the horrible memories by cutting myself - it helps me release the pain from within. School helped take my mind off things but now that the holidays are here I’m struggling. My parents always seem to be too busy for me and I don’t want to tell my friends what happened. I feel so miserable and lonely – can you please help?”
And a 14-year-old girl told counsellors: “Recently I’ve lost some people that were really close to me. When I started to self-harm it seemed to mask the emotional pain I was feeling, even if it only helped for a little while. When I get the urge to cut I can’t seem to stop it until it’s done, otherwise I get really upset and angry. A couple of times I’ve gone too far and ended up in hospital.”
Self-harm can take lots of physical forms, including cutting, burning, bruising, scratching, poisoning and overdosing.
The NSPCC has published advice for those that suspect a child or young person is or considering self-harming:
- Listen and show empathy and understanding
- Talk it over to try and discover their self-harm triggers
- Build their confidence and show that they can trust you
- Help them find new ways to cope
Matt Forde, national head of service for NSPCC Scotland said: “A frightening number of children and teenagers are being driven to self-harm as a way of dealing with unresolved feelings, tensions and distress in their lives.
“We need to ensure that every child and teenager who contacts Childline receives the advice and support they may desperately need, which is why it is so important that people get behind our ‘Call for Help’ campaign.”
Childline President, Dame Esther Rantzen added: “It has become one of the most common problems young people bring to us, and I know from our counsellors that these are some of the most painful stories we hear. Often the young people feel too ashamed and fearful to seek help from those around them, until they harm themselves so badly they have to be rushed to hospital.
“So they need to remember that Childline is here for them and that it really makes a difference to talk to our counsellors who care about you and want to support you.”
Children and young people can contact Childline for free, confidential support and advice, 24 hours a day on 0800 1111 or at www.childline.org.uk.