ChildLine counsellors got 200 Xmas ‘cries for help’

Eileen McGee who volunteered at ChildLine's Foyle base over the Christmas period.
Eileen McGee who volunteered at ChildLine's Foyle base over the Christmas period.

ChildLine counsellors in Derry received just under 200 “cries for help” from children and young people over the Christmas holidays.

In all, ChildLine centres in Derry and Belfast dealt with more than 700 “counselling interactions” between Christmas Eve and January 4.

These calls, stress ChildLine, were from children across the North and in Britain.

Family relationships, bullying and depression were the primary concerns of those that got in touch with the charity.

For example, of the 194 calls taken by Foyle counsellors, 10% of them related to family relationships.

Of the calls taken from girls, 13% related to family relationships while 5% of such calls were from boys.

One caller who made contact with ChildLine counsellors in Foyle said: “I self harmed tonight. I hurt myself and I am angry that the marks disappeared - I wanted the marks to stay.”

Esther Rantzen, President of ChildLine, says the figures demonstrate “how many distressed children depend” on the charity, especially at times such as Christmas which, she says, can be a particularly difficult time for vulnerable young people.

She added: “Childline is a vital lifeline for thousands of young people who desperately need support and advice on suicidal thoughts, self-harm, sexual abuse and mental illness.

“Our trained volunteer counsellors work tirelessly around the clock to ensure that the most vulnerable young people can get safe, trusted support on incredibly sensitive issues.”

ChildLine’s Foyle base says it always needs people for a diverse range of roles - from counselling to switchboard or administratitve support and, even, fundraising.

Information on what volunteering with the service entails can be found at