The NSPCC’s Childline has launched an app that is the first to provide counselling to young people in need of help directly through their smartphone in the UK and Channel Islands.
‘For Me’ was invented by four teenagers 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 in partnership with Barclays 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.
When Childline first launched 30 years ago all contact was over the phone, with many calls being made from telephone boxes.
Now 71% of counselling sessions are delivered online via email and 1-2-1 chat*, with the majority of the remaining counselling sessions being conducted with a young person via their mobile phone.
Last year, 1.8 million sessions on the Childline website were conducted via mobile devices.
The app has been named ‘For Me’ to ensure that it can be discreetly installed on mobile devices, meaning that if someone happens to see the phone they can’t tell that it’s a Childline service.
It is now available from the iOS app store with an Android version due to be released in the coming weeks.
Ashok Vaswani, CEO of Barclays UK, said: “The ‘For Me’ mobile app is a great new service that enables Childline to offer new capabilities reflecting that fact that young people now prefer use apps to have conversations rather than making a phone call. That is why we were so keen to lend our support using our own young apprentices to design and develop the new app, and we sincerely hope this will make a huge difference to many, many young people.”
Laura Hindle, who is one of the team who invented the app, said: “I am so proud to see ‘For Me’ in the app store and hope it will really make a difference to people our age who are struggling. Our initial ideas for the app came about during a school lesson when we were thinking of ways to make technology benefit the community. Watching the idea evolve into a reality has been quite a journey and it’s great to see the finished product ready to help young people. Let’s hope the app goes from strength to strength by offering invaluable support in such an accessible format.”
John Cameron, Head of Childline Services at the NSPCC 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.”
Childline founder Dame Esther Rantzen added: “We know hundreds of thousands of young people use our website for help and support, with more than half of those visits coming via mobile devices. Now young people can get immediate access to our counsellors through this brilliant, innovative app. Every young person will at last be able to tell Childline ‘This app is really what I needed. This is ‘For Me’.”
Childline is available for young people online, on the phone, anytime. Aside from our band new app, young people can ring Childline on 0800 1111 or visit https://www.childline.org.uk for help and support.
*214,003 counselling sessions. Total counselling sessions for 2015/16 was 301,413.
For more information please contact the NSPCC press office on 0203 772 9722 or email firstname.lastname@example.org