THERE has been a drastic increase in the number of young people seeking counselling sessions through Childline since schools were forced to close.

More than half of young people who spoke to Childline last week about coronavirus were counselled for their mental and emotional health as they struggled to cope with issues such as isolation, arguments at home and the removal of professional support from schools and the NHS.

Support for children worried about coronavirus hit a peak on Wednesday 18 March – the day schools were closed – with Childline delivering 121 counselling sessions on the issue in just one day.

Discussions are ongoing with government to give Childline staff key worker status as they battle to keep the vital service going.

According to the NSPCC, the charity which runs the help line, one young girl told a counsellor: "My mum is being very distant with me and I am usually very close to her, it's really upsetting me.

"My mum and I have a good relationship but she's really obsessed with the news and she won't hug me or get very close to me.

"It scares me to think this will go on for months.

"She constantly talks about the coronavirus and my anxiety is getting worse."

Dame Esther Rantzen, founder of Childline, added: "Sometimes young people find it difficult to share their anxieties with their parents, for fear of worrying them further.

"So, it is important that families talk about their feelings, together.

"We are hearing from children who have been cut off from vital support networks such as school, and friends, and that has increased their feelings of loneliness and vulnerability.

"They may have pre-existing mental health issues which are exacerbated by the current crisis."

Call Childline on 0800 11 11 or visit for support.