The NSPCC is reminding young people in Scotland that the charity’s Childline service is there for them 24/7 during the long school summer holidays.
Specialist counsellors at the free and confidential helpline in Scotland say they are frequently contacted by children whose problems are worsened in the summer months by feelings of isolation from friends, school or clubs who may have provided support in term-time.
In 2017/18, Childline provided over 278,000 counselling sessions to children and young people across the UK. During this period, 13,198 of these counselling sessions were from Scotland, with many taking place during the summer months.
Last year the top concern from young people in Scotland was mental and emotional health with 3,483 contacts to Childline.
Family relationships was another concern with 1,590 contacts made while 1,095 young people in Scotland contacted Childline with suicidal thoughts or feelings.
With the school summer holidays in Scotland well under way, Childline staff and volunteers are urging young people not to suffer in silence if they are experiencing difficulties.
Heather Donald, senior supervisor at the Glasgow Childline base, said: “Although summer holidays are often thought of as a happy time of year, sadly it can be a really tough time for some children and young people.
“Children can find themselves left home alone for long periods of time and feel a great sense of isolation.
“With schools being closed, often a lot of a young person’s support network is also compromised or contact with the caring teacher, routines and friendship groups reduced.
“But it’s important that young people know that Childline is never closed.
“We are here for all children and young people every day of the year no matter how big or small their worries may seem.”
Lynn Sweeney, a volunteer counsellor at the Childline Glasgow base added: “Already this summer I have taken calls from young people in Scotland who are struggling during the holidays.
“Sometimes there have been issues at home and they have had no means of escape, they are there all day every day.
“They don’t have that period at school where they can forget about all the problems and issues from home.
“We tend to think of young people loving the school holidays. Children going on holiday, going away for the day, spending time together, but it’s not like that for a lot of families.
“It’s not in the minority as we would like to believe, it’s a much bigger problem than a lot of people may imagine.”
Lynn added: “Social media can make things worse for young people. No one posts a picture when they are miserable, they post a picture when they are having a great time.
“When a child is in a bad place and feeling really low they look at social media and see all their friends are having a much better time than them, it is difficult.
“But the great thing about Childline is that you can talk things through with one of the counsellors. You can also go on the website, there are noticeboards with comments from other young people and it’s good to realise that you are not the only person in this situation.
“If there are any young people out there in Scotland having a tough time this summer, don’t suffer in silence.”
Childline is available on 0800 1111 or on Childline.org.uk.
Main Photo: Heather Donald, senior supervisor at the Glasgow Childline base