Calls in a crisis – the difference between adults and children.

According to WHO.int, with every 40 seconds that go by a person takes their own life. This totals around 800,000 people around the world every year.

With the growing concern surrounding COVID-19’s outbreak, it’s expected that the number of calls to organisations, such as Childline and the Samaritans will increase.

This may not be the case.

Recent reports have suggested that Childline has seen an increase of calls and the Samaritans have seen a decrease. Why is this?

Childline is aimed at helping young people in their times of need. Accessible through the web, the site offers children and young people the opportunity to chat with counsellors via phone or chat-room messaging.

The NCPCC has released a report stating that there is a growing number of children contacting the organisation due to the impact of COVID-19.

According to the report, 913 counselling sessions took place, with children concerned about the Coronavirus outbreak.

The reasoning for this sudden increase is yet to be determined. It’s speculated that it may be linked to the increased time spent at home and the disruption to their everyday routines causing increased anxiety.

Yet the Samaritans appear to be receiving fewer calls than expected.

The Samaritans is one of the UK’s leading helplines for those struggling in a crisis. Their vision is that fewer people will die from suicide.

On average, they answer more than 5 million calls each year. That’s roughly one call every 6 seconds.

Speaking to a Samaritans listener, more calls were expected due to the Coronavirus outbreak, but this is yet to be seen.

‘Personally I would have expected an increase [in calls], but interestingly we’ve had either the same number or, more often, fewer calls since COVID-19. Our branch director also noted a huge drop in calls relating to suicide or suicidal feelings.’

A local Samaritans listener, Leatherhead branch

It’s suggested that this change in reaching out could be due to people having more time to write emails at home or that people are more focused on COVID-19 than their own mental health.

‘In terms of the content of calls there are a high percentage that are discussing serious worries about COVID-19. Especially for vulnerable people like the disabled, the older generation and also prisoners. All these groups tend to also be isolated.’

Their advice to anyone stuck at home requiring help is to reach out as soon as you need to.

Don’t suffer in silence – be positive.’

Youtube: Samaritans – Small Talk Saves Lives – Everyday small talk.

If you know anyone isolated alone or suffering from mental health problems, such as depression or anxiety, reach out to them. Whether an adult or a child, everyone needs to talk.

There are many organisations and helplines availiable for anyone who needs to talk to someone. Both Childline and the Samaritans are free to contact.

Visit their websites for more details.

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