Ask Sam letter


To Sam

E-mailing a ChildLine counsellor

I really want to talk to a ChildLine counsellor but whenever I go to send an E-mail I can't work out what to say. Please help me. This has happened at least 10 times.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

Acknowledging that we need help can be one of the hardest things we ever have to do. For some young people they see it as a sign of weakness, believing they should be able to deal with everything life throws at them on their own.

Childline counsellors will tell you, and I agree, that asking for help is a sign of strength and courage. It says you want to get through a difficult situation or find new and positive ways to deal with difficult feelings, that you want life to change and improve and that you're willing to ask others for help to make sure that happens.

If you decide to talk to Childline for the first time, it can be scary thinking about telling private and scary things to a stranger. You may feel unsure if you can trust them or if they'll actually be able to help. Our confidentiality promise can help to reassure you around this.

When we're asking someone for help it can be a good idea to prepare in advance. Think about what you're going to say, and where and when if you choose to talk to someone face to face like a teacher. Some people might find it helpful to write something down, like an email and you might need to practice a few times to get it right.

Before you start, it can often be useful to ask yourself questions like:

  • what are my problems?
  • how can I explain them in a way someone else will understand?
  • what will it feel like to share these private things about myself?
  • what kind of help do I want or need? 

Preparation is really important and please remember, if you do decide to write things down, make sure you keep them safe so no one else can see them. And once you're finished with them, it might be a good idea to destroy them.

Asking for help can leave you wondering if you've done the right thing and if things will really change, so it's important to be realistic about what you are expecting to happen and bear in mind you have an important role to play making things change as well as initially asking for help.

Sending an email to Childline is a good way for you to stay in control of this process and the counsellors can help you to piece together what you want to say at a pace and in a way that will work for you.

Take care,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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