Childline Findings

Back in 1986 when Childline was founded, the predominant issue raised by children was sexual abuse - the extent of which was only then starting to be recognised. Today, children’s concerns tend to be about family relationships, low self-esteem and unhappiness.


Anxiety and depression amongst children and young people is also on the increase. Whilst childhood poverty rises, it can be expected that there will be a converse affect on childhood well being and happiness and the current generation of children has more cases of poor emotional and mental health than ever before.


Mental and emotional health has emerged as the #1 concern of children and young people who contact Childline, accounting for 22 per cent of counselling sessions in 2016/17.

Mental and emotional health has emerged as the #1 concern of children and young people who contact Childline, accounting for 22% of counselling sessions in 2016/17.

In 2016/17, children aged 11 and under accounted for 26,369 of counselling sessions offered by Childline. This is up from 25,142 in 2015/16 and 22,194 in 2014/15, which was an increase of 3% from the previous year 2013/14. [source:]


Many children suffer years of abuse,neglect, unhappiness, anxiety or mental health issues for years before reaching out. The NSPCC want to cut this timescale and connect with younger children before their problems become more severe or have become more embedded.

more children aged under 11 are turning to childline

What children and Young People Contact Childline about:

• One in three Childline counselling sessions related to mental and emotional health and wellbeing issues (including self-harm and suicidal thoughts or feelings).

• There were over 13,700 counselling sessions about anxiety.

• There were over 22,400 counselling sessions about suicidal thoughts and feelings - the highest ever.

• The top three concerns young people were counselled about were mental and emotional health; family relationships; and bullying/cyberbullying.

• There were over 21,800 counselling sessions where a child or young person’s main concern was abuse (this includes sexual, physical, or emotional abuse and neglect).

• There were over 8,000 counselling sessions with children or young people who told us they had special educational needs, were d/Deaf, disabled or had a health condition.

• Sexting was the most viewed information and advice topic on the Childline website.


"Yes because it's OK to ask for help if you're a bit sad or miserable."

"Do you think Sadsville will help you if you feel sad?"

"...Yes...because it tells you what to do if you're sad"


"When I am older I can 

think about the story and what Herman did."


"...Yes.. If you feel sad its OK to cry and share your feelings."


"When I am sad it may help if I talk to someone else."


"It teaches people a lesson to call for help not to do it on your own."

George, Bishop Henderson 

Primary School

"...because there will be a person that will cheer me up."