A NEW counselling service to improve children's mental health is being created in East Lancashire.

Child Action Northwest (CANW) based in Wilpshire has launched the Emojinal Health campaign to help raise funds for the new service, and needs £125,000 to set up the phone line and keep it staffed and running for the next two years.

The charity say the service could help to treat some of the 19,000 young people in the county who experience issues such as anxiety, depression and low self-esteem.

Fundraising for the new service was launched at a concert held at Preston Guild Hall, featuring school choirs from Blackburn Central High School, Belthorn Academy and Broadfield Specialist School in Oswaldtwistle and Feniscowles Primary School.

Sue Cotton, CEO of CANW said: “We know there are around 19,000 children in Lancashire who experience low level mental health issues, but currently only around a quarter receive the help they need.

“That means many more are struggling to deal with anxiety, depression, bullying and anger issues on a daily basis.

"That’s why it’s so important to make sure we can offer support and advice to help them build confidence and resilience before these problems escalate.

“We want to create a phone service staffed by fully-trained counsellors which will act as an early intervention and give children the guidance they need to overcome their problems.”

CANW is appealing to people across the county to support the fundraising campaign, by donating online and setting up their own fundraising initiatives.

Sue said: “Poor mental health is an issue that can impact on whole communities. By taking action now we can work together to build a happier, healthier future for young people in Lancashire.

“Whether people are able to donate just a pound, host their own bake sale or take part in a sponsored skydive, every little will help us to set up a counselling service that will make a real difference.”

To donate to the Emojinal Health campaign visit https://www.justgiving.com/campaigns/charity/childactionnorthwest/emojinalhealth.