COUNSELLING sessions for under-12s with mental health concerns have risen a third over the lockdown, charity figures show.

Childline held 21,827 counselling sessions about mental health concerns from March 23 to June 28, of which almost 2,000 were for 11-year-olds and under, the NSPCC said.

This is a 37 per cent rise in the average number of weekly counselling sessions about mental health – with 133 held per week up from 97 pre-lockdown.

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The service has delivered 11,783 counselling sessions related to coronavirus since the start of the year.

Since lockdown began, the average number of counselling sessions about abuse has increased by around a quarter.

And the number of sessions where children mentioned worries about the world more than doubled compared to before lockdown.

One eight year-old-girl told Childline: “I live with just my mum and don’t see dad much.

“We live in a tiny flat and sometimes we get so angry with each other we end up fighting.

“After we have had a fight I hurt myself because I feel like I am not good enough.”

NSPCC chief executive Peter Wanless said: “There is no doubt that the coronavirus pandemic has had a direct impact on the mental health of many of our children and young people across the country.

“It is concerning that we have seen an increase in children under 11 reaching out to us for support, emphasising that the impact of this pandemic is being felt by our youngest children too.”

The charity is asking the public to donate £10 so it can continue to run services like Childline.