CONCERNS have been raised over the impact on the mental wellbeing of children in North Wales.

More than a third of contacts from children living in Wales to the NSPCC’s Childline service during the last three months have related to mental health concerns, the charity has revealed.

The main reason for children from Wales contacting Childline - which has one of its two bases in Prestatyn - has been to talk about mental or emotional health with 807 contacts relating to this issue in the last three months, compared to a 30-day pre-lockdown average of 191.

Debs Davis, Childline Service Manager for Wales, said: “There is no doubt that the Coronavirus pandemic has had a direct impact on the mental health of many of our children and young people across Wales.

There has been a notable increase in calls from young people during lockdown with 2,179 children from Wales contacting the helpline during April, May, and June. This compared to a pre-lockdown 30-day average up until March 22 of 547 contacts.

Also in the top three of concerns for children living in Wales were suicidal thoughts and feelings, and family relationships.

Whilst NSPCC Cymru has welcomed the extension of therapeutic support for younger children in school based settings announced by the Welsh Government to help children to talk about their mental health, the charity is clear that evidence-based therapies should be used with young children who do not always benefit from traditional counselling models.

Throughout the pandemic young people have told counsellors they are feeling low, unhappy, overwhelmed and more recently talked about the anxiety they feel as we look to come out of lockdown.

An eight year-old-girl told Childline: “I am feeling sad and worried. I am scared of Covid-19 and feel like my family don’t care about me. I don’t get any attention and am always fighting with my mum. I live with just my mum and don’t see dad much. We live in a tiny flat and sometimes we get so angry with each other we end up fighting. After we have had a fight I hurt myself because I feel like I am not good enough.”

Ms Davis added: "Our volunteer counsellors have been hearing about the effect this health crisis is having on our youngest children too and it is imperative that Childline can continue to be there to ensure that young people are supported to cope and recover from the aftermath of this crisis. We need to ensure that children in all areas of Wales can access the vital support services they need to begin to move forwards.”