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Two people sat down talking in a counselling setting

PRESS RELEASE: Dorset Mind launches low-cost counselling

Leading local charity Dorset Mind recognise that people in Dorset will continue to experience the most difficult challenges to their mental health for a considerable time yet. Requests for help rose yet again during the third lockdown period and many communities need help more than ever. Without a firm end in sight to the impact on people’s lives, it is critical that low-cost support is available. We must help people build their resilience and manage their wellbeing.

The charity realised that everyone was affected in lockdown, whatever their personal situation – they all faced challenges to their circumstance. Additional periods of uncertainty, difficult working environments (if they hadn’t lost their jobs), combined with returning to ‘normality’ and financial difficulties led to many people experiencing increased levels of stress, anxiety, burnout and depression.

Dorset Mind’s Adult Services Team have responded by launching low-cost counselling. They aim to help support ongoing mental health issues concerns they witnessed. Dorset Mind Counselling aims to provide people with an affordable safe space to talk through how they feel. Importantly, it will help equip people with tools they need to thrive and not just survive.

The effect of lockdown

Nicole McCormack, Adult Services Manager at Dorset Mind says, “It comes as no surprise. Eighteen months plus of lockdown has challenged us mentally, physically and emotionally. The uncertainty of this period has been extremely hard for people to cope with. We recognize that people need to talk about the isolation and loneliness they have experienced – and indeed some of the things they’ve witnessed if they’ve been on the frontline or are key workers.

Referrals for some of our support rose by over 80% during lockdown and we wanted to add to counselling to complement the 1-2-1 services we already provide. Namely, active monitoring, befriending, and mentoring. Demand for 1-2-1 support, especially counselling is going to be vital moving forward.”

In a recent article from the British Medical Journal*, the UK’s Chief Medical Officer, Chris Whitty described “difficulties for people who required formal mental health care in lockdown who may have had less access to face to face consultations” and how they also faced “reductions of their informal support through friends and family.”

Lack of support networks through the lockdown restrictions led to mental wellbeing worsening. Dorset Mind aims to help fill the gap in support with this new service.

The charity is delighted to announce that Adult Counselling is now open and will accept referrals. The Adult Services team have built a stable of counsellors, with an extensive range of experience between them. Clients will be triaged and assessed on referral. They will then be referred to an experienced or placement counsellor or depending on the support requirement their case merits.

Low-cost – until we find funding

Marianne Storey, Dorset Mind CEO says, “As a local Mind, we have the flexibility to react swiftly to the needs of our communities. We’ve expanded the 1-2-1 support we can offer people – at cost. We don’t make any profit. Ideally, we want to offer this service free across the county, but due to funding scarcity we currently have to charge clients. If an organisation or individual wants to sponsor this service, please get in touch via our website.

Our new service adds considerable substance to our established support for mental health. Counselling can help lead to positive change in people’s lives and help equip them with ability to face the future with confidence.”

Dr Andy Mayers, Dorset Mind Patron and Principal Academic at Bournemouth University adds, “I am delighted to see this new counselling service from Dorset Mind. It adds yet another dimension to the comprehensive mental health support provided across Dorset. At Bournemouth University I am the Programme Leader for a Psychology with Counselling degree. I am looking forward to facilitating placement opportunities for students to work with Dorset Mind on this crucial service.”

Additional support

If you want to find out more about our low-cost 1-2-1 counselling, follow this link.

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