Celtic Life International
Annie Owen and Childline
North Wales Live reporter Annie Owen is one of many volunteers helping out at Childline - a United Kingdom-based counselling service for kids and teenagers. Trained counsellors are available through phone, online chat, and email. Two of Childline's 12 national bases are located in Wales, and the organization provides support in the Welsh language as well. When Owen isn't working as a journalist, she is taking phone calls at Childline's Prestatyn base. Recently, she wrote an article about what it was like to answer calls from children who are struggling. Owen described one call in particular: a 12-year-old girl who was having suicidal thoughts as she grappled with another pandemic lockdown. Self-harm, suicide and other mental health concerns are common topics when someone calls Childline. “One of the great things about Childline is that young people can talk about anything - and they won't be judged,” wrote Owen, who has been volunteering for the organization since she was 16 years old. “In one four-hour-long shift I could talk to a young boy about his gender identity, another young person about friendship issues, and then support a young girl to speak to a trusted adult about sexual abuse.” Launched in 1986, the charity has been around for more than 35 years now. Owen has been with Childline for eight years, and she noted that the demand for service has increased since the beginning of the pandemic. Although each shift brings challenges, Owen wrote that volunteering for Childline is the best thing she's ever done.