We have been established since November 2018, and we provide a counselling service to children, young people and adults who live within the Staffordshire Moorlands, and also with the Stoke-on-Trent area. We have The Young Ones Project working with children and young people aged 10-18 (up to 25 with specific educational needs), and The Horizon Project working with people aged over 60, where we have for both projects been able to provide some subsidised counselling sessions. For adults aged between 18-59, we provide a fee-paying service but reduced sessions for NHS/Emergency services and those on low income/benefits.
Our Young Ones Project has allowed us to be acutely aware of the emotional upset and upheaval experienced by local children and young people who live in the Moorlands. For those children and young people who are already struggling with their mental health, this is an extremely difficult time. The corona crisis for all young people has meant enormous changes happening in their lives. There are increased mental health concerns and for their wellbeing. There will be an increase in their loneliness and some will feel isolated. There is the obvious lack of safe spaces for young people as their home may not be one, some young people may want support or want to talk about their challenging family situations. Young people will not be having access to their usual trusted person they may choose to go to. Some young people may be spending more time online thus feeling more online pressure from peers and others. They will be feeling overwhelmed, sad, or confused about the outbreak of coronavirus and feel worried about their family and friends.
We want to be able to provide support through face to face counselling, over the phone and
digitally. We need to find ways to help those young people who have lost their support – not least because, in many cases, they have also lost many of their coping mechanisms, including contact with friends or routines that help them to manage their conditions. We are aware that many young people who previously might not have needed mental health support are likely to do so in future. As the impact of the corona virus and the restrictions on their lives continues to sink in, more young people are going to struggle to cope.