With waiting lists often over 6 months to be seen for mental health needs, many people are falling through the cracks.

We’ve been working with women and people outwith the gender binary in Glasgow for the last 3 years, looking to tackle loneliness and isolation by running free workshops and ‘safe space’ events that encourage people with anxiety to socialise and build confidence. Throughout this time we’ve been in contact with numerous individuals who are struggling because of a lack of access to mental health services. Funding cuts have led to ever increasing wait times, meaning it is not uncommon for a person to wait for over 6 months to be seen for depression, anxiety and suicidal thoughts.

We meet a lot of women on a weekly basis, most of whom are at some sort of social and/or economic disadvantage. In carrying out research for our long term social impact and goals, we find that a lot of women that we come into contact with have mental health issues and are being failed by the current health system.

We have already seen the impact that providing community spaces can have on the mental health of individuals, we now want to take that one step further and begin offering counselling sessions to women in the local area to help tackle the stigma and difficulty attached to asking for and getting help. Looking after your mental health should be normal and so much easier.

Mental health and self-care is a mainstream conversation at the moment, but this rise in awareness, in the news and on social media, of how these things matter as much as physical health, has not been matched with actual services. We are desperate for an increase in the provision of mental health support, especially one to one counselling which we know can make a huge difference to health and well-being, more so than quick, impersonal online support, self-help publications and medications taken on their own.

  • Few GP surgeries offer counselling services – often when support with mental health is requested, Doctors give a list of charities to approach – most NHS counselling /specialist services require a very specific remit, limiting those who are referred – having to prove that you qualify/deserve help can be humiliating in itself and the whole process is lengthy.
  • Charities and other organisations that provide free or pay what you can counselling have long waiting lists even for people in crisis – the alternative is paying and with sessions costing around £45 an hour, to see a private counsellor, most young people just can’t afford this all.
  • Young people themselves are calling out for support – we are aware of and follow many opening up about their mental health struggles on social media platforms such as Instagram and Twitter and we understand their frustration:

How will our accessible counselling service work?

If we are able to raise our initial target of £3000 we will be able to pilot our proposed service, working with Jude Stewart, psychotherapist and Board member of Wild & Kind. This will help towards wages, rent and the administrative and professional fees that accompany running a counselling service.

  • Initially we will be offering one to one counselling sessions, up to five a week, free of charge to young women and people outwith the gender binary in the East End of Glasgow in our planned ‘Quiet Place’ counselling room at Wild and Kind studios, Bridgeton, Glasgow. 
  • We will work to expand the service by sourcing and training appropriate student counsellors looking for placements to complete the 100 hrs of counselling hours needed to qualify professionally. We will contract to provide them with experience, excellent peer support, supervision and continuing professional development opportunities, in return for their work in accordance to BACP/COSCA requirements and their institution/courses’ stipulations.
  • We will work to make the service sustainable by offering sliding scale counselling in time – those who can afford to pay something for their sessions will contribute to supporting those who don’t have the means.
  • We will make connections with relevant NHS, feminist, health and social care and third sector agencies so that referral routes are developed and maintained – so that those who need the service most will be able to access it.
  • We will seek support, guidance and training from other projects and organisations working in this field to ensure our service continues to meet the needs of the clients to the best of our abilities, so that we can stay informed, aware of relevant changes and open to growth.

Dreaming big!

The safety and wellbeing of our service users is paramount. If we are able to smash through our initial goal of £3000, with your help, we will work towards out ultimate target of £15,000 we will be able to begin work on building a soundproof nook within our creative space where counselling sessions can take place. This will mean that we will have real scope to make this service completely sustainable.

As a CIC we’re all about creating an enterprise that will raise profit for purpose, and so by having a fully soundproofed space we will be able to generate income at other times by renting it out (for example, as a podcast space or meeting room) and the more income we generate from it’s existence the more fully funded counselling session we can provide.

We hope to set an example of how you can generate income to fund the provision of life changing services to those who desperately need them. We hope that we can continue to grow, and over time take the strain off of GPs & the NHS. And most importantly, with your help, we hope to offer a beacon of light to those who are currently falling through the cracks of an underfunded healthcare system.

To support the creation of The Quiet Space follow this link : https://www.avivacommunityfund.co.uk/the-quiet-space

Sources of support –

If anything we’ve mentioned has left you feeling that you would like to talk to someone, see:

Mind open Mon to Fri, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393

Samaritans open 24 hrs on 116 123 (UK and ROI FREE to call and won’t appear on your bill.)

The Mix free support service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@themix.org.uk

Rethink Mental Illness  0300 5000 927 (open Mon to Fri 10am-4pm).