Over the past couple of months, Childline has been providing a crucial safety net for children throughout the country as they have been cut off and isolated from the outside world.
Our counsellors have heard from hundreds of children in Scotland during lockdown, including those who are experiencing abuse and are feeling trapped, because they don’t have their normal escape mechanisms or support systems, such as school.
As the lockdown has continued, the people they are living with have also faced more stress and this may have impacted their ability to regulate their behaviour.
Childline has also been contacted by children who have never used the service before, because they are struggling with the isolation.
These children have reached out for mental and emotional support, as many have felt very stuck and lonely, and have not wanted to worry their parents who were already feeling anxious about their own issues.
We have heard from children whose parents have lost their jobs and are under growing financial pressure, as well as from young carers struggling to look after their siblings while their parents are ill with Coronavirus symptoms.
We have also found that children who have pre-existing mental health worries have been affected by the constant stream of news and information, as they say they don’t feel they can escape from it.
However, it has also been inspiring to see how some children are adapting to their new normal. We’ve seen increases across Childline’s messaging boards, with young people connecting via our online community and helping each other to cope.
Children supporting and shaping each other during this crisis is very powerful, and helps children feel like they are not completely alone or unique.
The response from Childline’s volunteers has also been incredible and their dedication is overwhelming. We know that at a challenging time like this, in which the spread of coronavirus has caused schools, youth and public services to close, it’s more important than ever to consider the support that is in place for our young people.
To help us continue to support children during this challenging period, and to adapt to the ever- changing situation, the NSPCC has launched its emergency appeal ‘We’re still here for children’. If you would like to donate, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/nspccscot
Young people can get help from Childline at www.childline.org.uk or by calling 0800 1111 for free. Any adults with concerns about a child can contact the NSPCC Helpline at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 0808 800 5000