In a new report from Children’s Charity NSPCC, it was revealed that Childline, a UK helpline for youth under the age of 18, is receiving an increasing number of calls relating to LGBT+ issues.
According to the report, the charity received an average of 16 calls a day from children worried about coming out, showing a 40 percent increase from the previous year.
Children as young as 11 have used the service to discuss issues around bullying and their mental and emotional health. 12 to 15-year-olds were the most common age group to contact the helpline about gender and sexual identity.
Additionally, the transgender page on the Childline website saw an 80 percent increase in visits between 2017/18 and 2018/19.
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One child said to counsellors:
“I have been feeling depressed and suicidal for about three years. My parents don’t understand me at all. I came out as trans and they think it’s just a phase and refuse to accept me.”
Childline provides various resources to youth including a Helpline, online chatting, and online message boards. The counselling sessions provided are completely confidential.
The Childline website advises youth:
“It’s natural to be confused about your sexuality or to need time to work out who you are. It’s okay not to be sure.”
Their resources page gives advice on coming out, bullying, sex, and relationships, along with definitions of various sexualities and identities.
Founder and President of Childline, Dame Esther Rantzen said: “I have met young people who were desperately unhappy because they couldn’t talk to anyone about issues regarding their sexuality or gender, and often turn to Childline because they fear they would lose their friends and be rejected by their families if they disclosed their feelings to them.”
Ireland also runs a Childline. On the topic of sexuality and coming out, Childline Ireland says:
“You might experience lots of different emotions as you journey towards accepting and living as your true self. You might feel scared, confused, or something else. However you might feel, you are not alone. There is help and support available and this can really help.”
Childline Ireland can be reached by youth under the age of 18 via calling at 1800 66 66 66, and via text (messages can be sent to 50101) and online messaging at childline.ie. All counselling is confidential.
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