I’ve written recently about the difficulties some children have at this time of year, and this week, I’d like to give you an insight into just one of the many contacts we at Childline receive from young people each Christmas here in Yorkshire and across the UK.
Hollie Evans, who has since gone on to work raising awareness of Childline and the NSPCC, contacted us when she was unwell in hospital at Christmas.
Hollie said: “I barely even saw my family. I think the feeling of isolation is worse at Christmas, because we are very much fed the idea that Christmas is a time to be together.
“It feels like the whole world is carrying on without you. You see adverts of families gathered round Christmas tables and people dancing at parties on New Year’s Eve, and when your Christmas doesn’t look like that it feels devastating. It’s a lonely feeling when people can’t see you for who you really are. To everyone else in my life I was the girl who was ill, but to Childline I could just be Hollie.”
Hollie, like all of us at Childline, wants to remind everyone reading this that our counsellors are available for young people 24 hours a day, every day of the year – we’ll even be on shift on Christmas day to support anyone who needs it.
Last December, Childline delivered a record number of counselling sessions about loneliness for a single month, and we’re expecting that to be a main topic this Christmas as children are cut off from school and support networks.
If you’re worried about a child this Christmas, don’t be afraid to start a conversation about how they’re feeling. You could even explore our Childline website together, and look for advice, exercises and our moderated message boards so they can speak to young people their own age about their worries.
But remember - our Childline counsellors will be on hand throughout Christmas and New Year, giving up their time to ensure children who are struggling during the festive period have someone to speak to when they need it most.