POP star Cheryl Tweedy has been announced as the new face of Childline as the charity celebrates its 30th anniversary.
The singer aims to reach out to young people who are struggling to cope and encourage them to ask for the help available to them.
While she generally goes by the mononym Cheryl, she changed her birth surname, Tweedy, to Cole when she married Ashley Cole in 2006.
She then became Cheryl Fernandez-Versini following her marriage to Jean-Bernard Fernandez-Versini in 2014, but the pair were last month granted a decree nisi in their divorce proceedings.
The charity hopes that Tweedy’s high television profile will be more accessible to young people who suffer from mental health and well-being problems, but do not know how to get support.
Tweedy said: “Life can be hard sometimes, especially whilst you’re growing up, and everyone deserves someone to talk to and help make sense of it all.
“No young person should ever feel afraid, confused or alone so if that’s how you are feeling then please get in touch with them (Childline) by phone or online.”
Latest Childline figures show almost a quarter increase (22%) in counselling sessions provided for girls aged 12-18 suffering personal issues such as low self-esteem, depression and self-harm over the last three years – a jump from 31,221 to 38,155.
The charity reports that the number of these sessions for girls who express suicidal feelings has risen by almost a third (28%).
Tweedy said: “As a teenager I was aware of Childline, but like so many others I mistakenly thought it was just for young kids.
“The reality is that it doesn’t matter whether you are at primary, secondary school or college, or how big or small your problem is, Childline is there for you.
To launch her campaign she is featuring in an emotive film, which sees her voice replaced by young people talking about deeply personal problems.
One boy explains how he is gay but is too frightened to tell his dad, while a teenage girl talks about being sexually abused at home.
Peter Wanless, CEO of the NSPCC, said: “Welcoming Cheryl as the new face of Childline is an absolutely fantastic way for the service to mark 30 years of helping children and young people.
“Through her support we will be able to reach a lot of young people who previously weren’t aware of Childline or perhaps thought that they were either too old or that their problem was not serious enough to warrant seeking help.”
Dame Esther Rantzen, current president and founder of Childline, added: “We are really excited at the awareness that Cheryl will bring to the service, and in particular how she will enable us reach out to even more desperately unhappy young people with nowhere else to turn.
“She fully understands the new dangers young people face today such as sexting and cyber-bullying.
“The reality is that whatever the age or the problem Childline is a free, confidential helpline for any young person – a message that Cheryl will help us take to a whole new audience now that she has joined the team.”
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