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Mental Health

'Sometimes they're just lonely and want a chat': What it means to volunteer at Childline

Childline saw it’s seventh millionth phone call earlier this year – we sat down with some volunteers to see what Childline means to them. / YouTube

THROUGHOUT THE year, Childline volunteers will receive 1,000 contacts every day – including Christmas Day.

Yesterday the service received more than 1,200 contacts from children and young people who needed someone to talk to. 

Many of those calling in might be feeling anxious, worried, scared or as volunteer David Stokes says because they are “just lonely and just want to ring and have a chat with somebody”.

For the last four years, since retiring from a career in business, David has been volunteering with the phone service for Childline and says the only thing he regrets is not coming to it sooner.

Children don’t have a voice and they need somebody to speak up for them.

Eric O’Byrne operates the text and online chat services and has been volunteering for two years at Childline and says bullying in the online space is something that is frequently spoken about, as well as thoughts around suicide. 

“That’s just an indication I think,” he says, “of the state of the mental health situation in the country at the moment.”

He adds that being able to talk about these things is what helps gets us through them.

“We don’t judge anyone,” he says. “We’re simply here to listen.”

If interested in volunteering for Childline, you can contact the ISPCC Head Office at 01 234 2000 or their website here.

Childline is a listening service for all young people under 18 years old. It’s open 24/7 on 1800 66 66 66. If you’d prefer to text instead, text TALK to 50101, our Teentext service, or text BULLY to 50101 to reach the bullying support service. The text lines are open 10am-4am every day.

All these services are completely free and anonymous. They’re non-judgemental, and you can talk about anything at all – you don’t need to have a “serious problem” to get in touch; they are there to listen to whatever is on your mind.

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