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To Sam

Worrying about the news

Dear Sam, Recently I have been really worried about the Russia Ukraine crisis. I really think we might get involved and i dont want a WW3 to start. Now I feel like I dont want to leave the house and its been really hard for me to have to go to school, knowing that in Ukraine people are suffering and that it might happen to us too. I have tried to tell my parents but they say that it wont affect us but thats what they thought about coronavirus too so i dont really believe them. I have heard Russia have nuclear weapons and that also sounds really dangerous.

Ask Sam


Hi there,

When things are happening in the world it can affect us, even if it's far away. What's happening in Ukraine is upsetting and difficult to think about. It's important to know what's going on in the world but it's okay to put your own mental health first. This might mean taking your mind away from the news for a while.

When the news is focussing on a crisis like a pandemic, war or natural disaster it can feel like nothing else is happening. Anxiety and stress caused by the news are much harder to cope with when they surround everything. It might feel like there’s nothing else going on in the world - not even good and happy things. This can affect your mental health and your feelings.

Staying up to date about important events can help to make sense of the world around us, but some of the news might make you feel the opposite. It might feel like there’s no sense in what's happening at all, and it can be frustrating. Sometimes you might feel powerless and depressed that something bad is happening that you can do nothing about. If this is how you feel, then you might need to start looking after yourself by limiting how much of your time is taken up by the news.

One way of dealing with this kind of anxiety is to set aside a small amount of time during the day where you think about what's going on. Having that time to digest what's happening is useful. Any other time during the day that you’re feeling anxious or worried about what's happening you can say to yourself that now is not the time to think about it because you have time set aside for it later. Keeping it limited to 15 minutes a day can stop you from thinking about it the rest of the time so you can focus on things like school.

It's difficult to try and carry on as normal whilst terrible things are happening. Something that can help is to talk about what's happening with someone like a Childline counsellor. They’re there to listen - they won't be able to answer questions about the war in Ukraine specifically, but it can help to share your worries. You could also talk with other young people on the message boards to see what they think about what's happening.

Thanks for writing to me, I hope this has helped.

Take care,


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