Yorkshire counselling charity sees referrals rise by almost 50 per cent during pandemic

A Harrogate counselling charity which saw referrals for support "rocket" by 44 per cent as the pandemic took hold has urged people experiencing mental health problems to seek help.

Wellspring executive director Emily Fullerton

According to mental health charity Mind, the Covid-19 outbreak has had a "devastating" effect on the lives of people experiencing mental health problems and psychological distress with 65 per cent of adults over 25 and 75 per cent of young people with an existing mental health problem reporting worse mental health.

Wellspring Therapy and Training, which was founded in Harrogate in 2003, experienced an initial drop in referrals from March to June, as people managed lockdown, but said in recent months, the counselling referral rates have rocketed, increasing by almost half, with the charity expecting this to continue to rise.

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Since lockdown hit, Wellspring offered young people and adults video and telephone counselling, with many saying the support had been "invaluable" to them in this time of crisis.

The charity was also able to offer counselling at a price chosen by the individual - for as little as £5 per session.

Wellspring executive director Emily Fullerton said: "Alongside our counselling services, we also want to equip individuals to care for their mental health. At this time, many may be worried that they are not resilient enough to deal with the changing circumstances and the difficulties they are facing, and so over the last few months, one of our counsellors wrote a blog series on the Wellspring website focusing on the topics of self-care and resilience."

She shared some practical tips and provided a fresh perspective on dealing with challenges in the middle of a pandemic.

"At Wellspring, we want to help people learn simple, everyday skills that will enable them to feel healthier and build confidence around their ability to cope.”

Wellspring client Freya, who received counselling throughout lockdown after starting initially in January due to the stress of her husband's serious illness, said the support gave her the tools to help her life "going forward".

She said: "The online side of things was fine. We had to get used to it at first, but it was all ok. It was good to be able to see my counsellor on the video call.

"I finished my counselling sessions in May, which was quite a long time, but it was worth it. I feel I’m in a different place now. It’s lifted so much of the pressure and the anxiety. I also think I’m more able to deal with things when I do experience difficult emotions now.

"Right the way through my sessions, I didn’t have any sense of being able to look beyond where I was, but now I can finally look beyond. I am able to move forwards and think about the

future. I’d highly recommend Wellspring and encourage anyone weighed down by life’s pressures to get in touch and see a counsellor. It’s a safe place.”


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James Mitchinson