Herts Youth Counselling Drop-in Service

by Signpost in Watford, England, United Kingdom

Herts Youth Counselling Drop-in Service
We did it
On 26th March 2018 we successfully raised £1,225 with 23 supporters in 28 days

Give young people struggling to cope immediate access to counselling support.

by Signpost in Watford, England, United Kingdom

"Mental health in adolescence is a growing issue. 1 in 10 children aged 5-16 have a clinically significant mental health problem. This figure increases with age. 

Prevention and early intervention is vital.  Evidence shows that those that receive support early have better outcomes."

Children & Young People’s Mental Health In Hertfordshire Newsletter, 2017


Following a successful pilot, our project will offer a drop-in service to provide holding sessions for young people aged 13-21 who need a short-term and immediate intervention.  Most young people approach us because they do not want to access support through School, their GP or the adults in their lives.   Not all of them need or have the time for regular one-to-one counselling.  At best our waiting times are six weeks, but for some can be 3-4 months. For young people needing a quick intervention this is too long.   

Our drop-in service will offer a session within a week of contact and will enable a young person to have upto five sessions of counselling at short notice.

4decc3e171a834610562bfd9484a0fc4f00b110aOur objectives for the project 

1) Help young people deal with their problems promptly

2) Support young people to overcome mental health issues as soon as possible

3) Support young people to have better engagement and performance in their education

Who will benefit?

The types of young people who would benefit from an immediately-available drop-in service include those:

  • who have previously received counselling and need a short-term 'booster' to get them through a difficult patch;
  • who are anxious about successfully navigating an imminent, difficult or life-changing watershed point (e.g., exams, going to university, parental divorce, transfer to secondary School);
  • on a waiting list who need some holding sessions to avoid their situation deteriorating.

With similar funding we've been able to offer this service before!

Signpost CEO speaks about the drop-in service as he receives a cheque from Heart FM in 2016:


If we secure funding for this project we will be able to  offer a more timely service that is more responsive to the needs of young people, reduces the burden on existing services, including our own, and frees up waiting lists for people who need longer more intensive services.

If we are not able to secure funding for this project, young people will either: 

a) not have their needs met because the moment has been missed; or

b) need a more intensive intervention because of a delay in accessing support.

Measuring success - expected outcomes

  • More than half of the young people who use the drop-in service will not need to proceed to longer-term support.
  • At least 70% of those seen more than once will report that their emotional and psychological well-being has improved.
  • At least 23% of those seen more than once will have:
    • progressed to university where otherwise they might not;
    • completed exams where otherwise they might not; or
    • settled into school where otherwise they might have become/continued to be disengaged.
  • At least 70% of those seen more than once will record one or more of the following outcomes at their exit reviews: 
    • engaging and performing better at education (including progressing to university, completing exams and settling into a new School);
    • enjoying improved relationships at home and/or with peers;
    • joining in more with activities outside of the home;
    • feeling better able to deal with problems;
    • feeling more confident 

Financial rationale - savings

  • 195 young people will be seen by the project of which 75 will receive a short-term preventative intervention at a cost of £132 each. 
  • This represents a significant saving compared to the c.£500 cost of the standard Signpost service offer of 12 weeks of one-to-one counselling . 
  • If only 20 young people do not proceed to one-to-one counselling there would a saving. 
  • There would also be a saving to the public purse because responsive, accessible services would reduce the risk of young people dropping out of education or getting into trouble with the police due to short-term untreated mental health issues.


Charlie speaks about his experience of participating in similar groups run by Signpost:

Service detail

Holding sessions whereby young people with a particular issue, such as divorce, exam stress or coping with a change can access a few sessions of one-to-one support on an ad hoc, drop-in basis will be available through our locations in Watford, Hemel Hempstead and Borehamwood and will offer approximately ten sessions a week that will be kept available to respond to last minute demand. 

  • 120 young people will receive a one-off drop-in session.
  • 50 young people will receive an average of 4  holding sessions.


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