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ChildLine expects busy season

THOUSANDS of calls are expected to be made by children and young people to a counselling helpline over the festive period.

ChildLine said that for many young people, Christmas when they consider self-harming or suicide.

Last December, ChildLine centres in Glasgow and Aberdeen counselled 160 young people about suicide and 264 about self-harm.

The trained volunteers who work for the UK's free, confidential 24-hour helpline also received 490 contacts about family relationship issues, and hundreds more about bullying.

The organisation expects its Scottish bases to carry out 3663 counselling sessions by the end of this month.

Elaine Chalmers, ChildLine area manager for Scotland, said: "ChildLine really could be the difference between life and death for some children this Christmas.

"Hundreds of ChildLine volunteers will be spending Christmas Day not with their families, but seeing the other side of the festive season."

ChildLine counsellor Katrina Vezza, 52, from Stepps, said: "Volunteering at this time of year really makes you realise not everyone is as fortunate as you. I had a very happy childhood, but I am very conscious of the fact that so many young people out there do not."

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