A MENTAL health charity has launched a new helpline young people who need someone to talk to.

Darlington Mind is working with the Listening Post, a service organised by churches in the town, to provide to new helpline for young people aged between 11-18 during the coronavirus crisis.

It launched today and is available from Monday to Friday, between 10.30am- 12noon and from 1.30pm-4.30pm.

Simon Davidson, chief executive of Darlington Mind, said: “A lot of children and young people are out of school, they are bored and they may have underlying mental health problems.

"Growing up as a teenager has its challenges anyway and there is huge stress at the moment.

"A lot of children and young people won't see their friends and will be missing doing things they enjoy. They will be spending more time with siblings and parents will be stressed.

"We want them to know there are always people to talk with and someone who will listen."

Martin Stand, project director of the Listening Post, said: "The Listening Post has been providing support for young people in schools for over three years.

"It is important, as schools are closed for the majority of students, that young people have access to as many support services as possible.

"It is fantastic that two organisations have come together to partner a bespoke provision to help young people with their mental health and well-being at this unprecedented time.

"We are pleased to be able to play our part in offering our listening and mentoring service in order to enable young people to reach out for help if they find themselves struggling over the coming weeks and months. We would encourage young people to contact either of the numbers if they find themselves needing to talk."

Funding for the project has been provided by Darlington Borough Council and Tees Valley Clinical Commissioning Group, with Mind able to reallocate funding from other projects to run the helpline.

And if it proves a success, it will try to secure additional funding in the future to maintain the service.

Mr Davidson is also backing calls for the Government to give financial support to charities during the coronavirus crisis.

More than 300 MPs have signed a letter asking chancellor Rishi Sunak for aid.

Mr Davidson added: "Everybody is outside of their comfort zone and at times like this demand for out service goes through the roof.

"Once everything gets 'back to normal', I'm deeply concerned about the mental health of young people in this country.

"Since austerity, a lot of charities have gone to the wall or are under threat when they are needed the most.

Mind is running the phone line between 1.30pm and 4.30pm each week day, and it is available by calling 07432843161.

The Listening Post helpline is available between 10am and 12noon each weekday, and is available by calling 07847933799.

If the line is busy, or unavailable people can email crew@darlingtonmind.com or listeningpost@daycm.co.uk