CHILDLINE has seen an unprecedented demand for its services from hundreds of vulnerable youngsters struggling with the impact of coronavirus.

Since last week there it has provided more than 900 counselling sessions with youngsters about coronavirus as parents started working from home and schools were closured.

Support for children worried about coronavirus hit a peak on March 18 - the day it was confirmed schools would shut.

In that one day alone, Childline delivered 121 counselling sessions to anxious youngsters.

Over half of those who spoke to Childline about coronavirus were counselled for their mental and emotional health as they struggled to cope with issues like isolation, arguments at home and the removal of professional support from schools and the NHS.

The Government has given Childline staff and volunteers key worker status as they battle to keep the service running, and continue to support children through this public health emergency.

While the service has reduced slightly since some volunteer counsellors have been told to self-isolate, it continues to be a lifeline for some of the most vulnerable children

Last week Childline delivered more than 50 counselling sessions with children who were having suicidal thoughts, exacerbated by coronavirus as they felt trapped and isolated.

Other issues raised have included school work and family relationships.

Most of the youngsters Childline has been supporting on the impact of coronavirus are girls between the ages of 12 and 15.

Dame Esther Rantzen, Childline founder, said: “Our dedicated volunteers are on the frontline supporting children through this public health emergency, and we couldn’t do it without them.

“Sometimes young people find it difficult to share their anxieties with their parents, for fear of worrying them further.

"So, it is important that families talk about their feelings, together.

"We are hearing from children who have been cut off from vital support networks such as school, and friends, and that has increased their feelings of loneliness and vulnerability.

"They may have pre-existing mental health issues which are exacerbated by the current crisis.

“Childline needs your help to let children and young people know that we are still here for them, and if they need someone to turn to, they can contact Childline via our website or on the phone.”

Peter Wanless, CEO of NSPCC, said: “The 24/7 news cycle about Coronavirus is causing huge worry and anxiety in young people – particularly those who are already coping with many other issues in their lives."

He said keeping children safe must be a top priority.