Mental health anxieties, unemployment, exam stress and housing worries have been the main issues raised during the early weeks of ‘meic’, Wales’ new nationwide advocacy and advice helpline for children and young people.
The service, the first helpline of its kind in the UK, was launched in May and latest figures show that it received more than 1,200 calls in its first eight weeks.
‘meic’gives children and young people the opportunity to get help on issues important to them if they feel they are not being heard, or if their opinion is not being taken into account on matters that affect them.
Deputy Minister for Children Huw Lewis AM said: “The number and nature of calls received so far underlines the need for this service in Wales. Children and young people have a right to be heard and have their concerns listened to, no matter what the issue.
“This new service provides a valuable new channel of communication while complementing other important services for children and young people.
“Issues facing children and young people can often be very complex and they need trained staff who can help them unravel these problems, find solutions and speak up so that the situation can get better.”
The service currently operates seven days a week from midday to 8pm but will become a 24 hour service later this year. People aged up to 25 can access the service via telephone, text messaging and instant messaging online. So far roughly 70 per cent of the calls have been voice calls.
Children and young people under 25 in Wales can contact meic by calling freephone 080 8802 3456, free text to 84001 or instant message via the meic website: http://www.meiccymru.org/