PROBLEMS with peers and anxiety over love affairs are the two areas that worry young people most, going by calls received by a youth hotline that has been in operation for the past 20 months. The Youthline, introduced in July 1993 by the Hong Kong Federation of Youth Groups, has handled 35,851 cases. Out of the top 10 problems pinpointed, 24.9 per cent concerned peer relationships in school and 15.9 per cent related to love affairs. Pressure or stress in school (14.2 per cent) and parent-child relationships (13.8 per cent) also ranked high. Yolanda Chiu Wai-kan, senior supervisor of the federation, said schooling, love and courtship, and family were the three main categories that youth problems fall into. The most common problems students called in about were difficulties in getting along with peers in school, examination stress, concern about disappointing parents, and worry over love affairs. Ms Chiu said most callers regained their emotional stability after counsellors had talked with them and suggested guidelines for solving their problems. Around 10 per cent of the cases were followed up by repeat calls or face-to-face counselling. Although the majority of the callers are aged between 11 and 15, Ms Chiu said the hotline also received calls from children between six and 10 years. Figures showed that the younger group did not appear to have any serious problems with adjustment in school or with peer relationships. 'They dialled the hotline because they felt lonely and not cared for, and needed someone to talk to,' said youth counsellor Annis Fung Lai-chu. An average of 1,300 calls came in daily (a total of 573,753 incoming calls were registered) but only about 70 calls were handled each day. Ms Chiu said there was a great discrepancy between 'demand and supply' in the hotline service. At present, the service is operated by six full-time social work-trained counsellors, but the federation hopes to increase the number to 10. The hotline is sponsored by the Royal Hong Kong Jockey Club at a cost of $4 million on a two-year basis, which means the service is paid for until July this year. Ms Chiu said the federation was discussing funds for more staff with the Social Work Department. The Youthline number is 2777-8899 and operates from 2 pm to 2 am, Monday to Saturday. Callers may leave messages on the answering machines.