Third of young people report high anxiety as demand for Suffolk 4YP’s counselling service increases
- Credit: Archant
A third of teenagers and young adults at a Suffolk health and wellbeing cause have anxiety issues, a new report has revealed - as demand for counselling continues to increase.
Suffolk Young People’s Health Project (4YP) published its annual review in which it reported that the number of counselling sessions offered to people aged 12-25 had increased by more than 200 sessions – the equivalent of two extra weeks of counselling.
Of those, 33% had anxiety as their main emotional issue, while nearly a quarter presented with depression and low mood.
Staff at the charity said demand had significantly increased for support from youngsters who felt they “are not being heard”.
Karl Dickinson, business and marketing co-ordinator said: “This year our numbers increased by well over 1,000 contacts [across all its services].
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“Family members do care about young people but they are at a loss at what to do.
“Youngsters say they are not being heard by wherever they go so they actually feel like what they are saying isn’t acted upon.”
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The cause works with youngsters on their physical, emotional and social health, and has services such as counselling, signposting to other causes, one-to-one sessions, group workshops, social activities and online advice in the evenings.
Youth workers said that among the reasons were social anxiety – often through social media – such as not doing as well as their peers or confidence issues, family problems such as break-ups, and the pressures of life changes such as relationships and school.
Scarlett McMurty, young people’s co-ordinator added: “Our need is increasing and referrals are increasing.
“We have a lot of parents wanting some support [for their child], and at the moment there are a lot of services changing their criteria, so they are not getting the support.”
Suffolk County Council’s cabinet member for children’s services, education and skills, Gordon Jones, said its Chathealth and wellbeing website helped offer support, but recognised that “there is more to be done”.
She added: “I would encourage parents and carers to have an open discussion with their children about their school, friends and issues they may have worries about.
“This will help to promote positive emotional wellbeing and enable timely support when needed.
“Suffolk County Council is working closely with CCGs and providers to deliver the five year children and young people emotional wellbeing and mental health improvement plans and as part of this provides a suite of training for staff in schools and other services in mental health awareness and how to identify and respond to concerns when they arise.”
Nesta Reeve, consultant clinical psychologist for the Norfolk and Suffolk Wellbeing services said: “Wellbeing Suffolk has been offering help with mild to moderate levels of stress, anxiety and low mood for children, young people and families for the last year as part of our all age service.
“We have certainly noticed that there is a significant level of need and do our best to meet this need most effectively.
“We have reviewed our offer so that we can provide more help at an earlier stage to an increasing number of children, young people and their families.
“This has involved increasing the number of therapists to support young people and development of a broader range of brief interventions and courses and online workshops, as well as the counselling we offer through a contract with 4YP.
She added: “Our service also provides consultation and advice to other agencies to support children and young people including schools, colleges and early help teams in local communities.
“Additionally, any professional can support a referral for children, young people and their families for those aged 15 years or under via our professional support area on our website.”
On Thursday, October 26, 4YP will be holding a drop-in open session from 3-7pm at its base in Lower Brook Street for people to find out more.
For full details on support available from 4YP, visit the website here.