App created to help counsel young people

A Welsh children's charity says it's hoping to use technology to get young people to open up about their feelings.

‘For Me’ was invented by four teenage girls who wanted to make technology benefit the community and realised there was an urgent need for young people to have easy access to confidential advice and support. 

The app that was subsequently developed is now available as a free download with users being able to interact with all of Childline’s online services; these include 1-2-1 chat with a counsellor, the ‘Ask Sam’ problem pages and entrance to their private locker – an area where they have their own daily mood tracker and can write down personal thoughts.

The charity is hoping that the app will make it easier for children to contact the helpline and talk about a range of issues.

Last year more than 17,800 counselling sessions were carried out by Childline about friendship issues, with the most common concerns that they are experiencing including falling out with friends, having no friends, or struggling to make friends.

In Wales, there were 433 counselling sessions carried out by volunteers with the issue the sixth most common concern raised by children and young people. This was a 10% increase from 2014/15, where the figure was 394.

A girl contacting Childline from Wales said:

“I’ve been feeling so lonely recently and I don’t know who to talk to. I feel like I can’t tell my friends about it and I always lie when they ask me if something’s wrong. I used to have a really close friend that I talked to all the time but we fell out.”

A boy contacting Childline from Wales said:

“I used to have a big group of friends, but recently they just started leaving me out and not talking to me. I thought the guys I was closer with would stick up for me but they just didn’t say anything and let it happen.”

The introduction of the new app reflects the changing way that young people now engage and interact with Childline when they need advice and support.

Des Mannion, head of NSPCC Cymru, said:

“Launching the ‘For Me’ app shows how we’re continuing to capitalise on new technology to give children and young people the easiest possible access to Childline’s free and confidential advice and support. Its development will enable our younger generation to tap directly into Childline’s expanding range of services through their mobile phone whenever and wherever they need our help.”

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