Young people in Chippenham and the surrounding area now have a new free-to-access early help counselling service available in the town, following the opening of a new satellite TeenTalk service by Melksham based charity Young Melksham.
TeenTalk offers person-centred counselling to young people aged 10 to 25 and will being the community facilities at Station Hill Baptist Church every Wednesday afternoon. All counselling is delivered by a BACP registered counsellor.
Chair of the Trustees of Young Melksham, Jon Hubbard, said, “As a result of increasing demand we have been looking at how to expand for some time. We have seen an increased number of young people from Chippenham and the north of the county using our service so being able to offer the service directly in Chippenham is really exciting.
We are incredibly grateful to the team and the elders at Station Hill Baptist Church who have made their facilities available to us. It is a great venue for our specialist young people’s counsellors to work from and we look forward to welcoming young people to the service from Wednesday 7th October. Over the past 12 months we have seen the number of requests for help increase, with the level of need often being more extreme.
Emotional disorders, particularly anxiety and depression are on the rise. We are just beginning to understand how the increasing prevalence of social media is negatively impacting young people’s emotional health. Earlier this year we made the decision to increase the provision we have available and doubled the number of counselling sessions we were offering. As a service that is entirely dependent on grants and donations this was a challenging decision, but we felt it was the right one as no young person should go without the support they need”.
During the Covid emergency TeenTalk launched a dedicated phone line for young people to be able to call and chat with one of their counselling team about how they were coping with lockdown.
Feedback from young people to TeenTalk shows that anxiety levels for young people are higher than ever with the issues relating to this year’s exam results having a significant impact – more so than Covid itself.
Figures released by the Local Government Association (LGA) show that at least one in eight children and young people have a diagnosable mental health condition, with by the age of 17 a quarter of young women having a mental health disorder. Shockingly, half of these young woman report having self-harmed or attempting to take their own lives.
Overall, over half of all mental health disorders, of all ages, start before the age of 14, with 75 percent by 24 years of age.
According to the Bright Futures report “Struggling with Mental Health” published by the LGA, “Children and young people are more likely to have poor mental health if they experience some form of adversity, such as living in poverty, parental separation or financial crisis”.
However, at the same time specialist services are turning away one in four of the children referred to them by their GPs or teachers for treatment. In 2017 more than 338,000 children were referred to CAMHS (the NHS specialist Children and Adolescent Mental Health Service), but less than a third received treatment within the year
“That’s why we offer a free-to-access counselling service,” explains Young Melksham Chair, Jon, “We recognise that often money is the limiting factor in being able to access the support these young people so desperately need. For many young people just admitting that they have a challenge and need to seek help is a massive, hugely challenging step. To then have to ask parents who are struggling to financially cope to pay for expensive therapy can prove to be an insurmountable hurdle.
“Our service will work with any young person aged 10 to 25. Making a referral into TeenTalk is really easy, just visit our new website at teentalk.org.uk and complete the simple online form. We will get back to you and explain the process and let you know when we will be able to start. If there is a delay before we can start your dedicated one-to-one sessions, then one of our team will keep in contact with you regularly to see how things are going.
“Whether you are on our waiting list or not, anyone is welcome to call our TeenTalk line on 01225 667328 and have one of our team give you a call back for a simple chat.
More details about the new service can be found on the dedicated TeenTalk website at http://teentalk.org.uk and young people, parents and professionals can make a referral online from the site.
TeenTalk is a service delivered by Young Melksham, a charity based at The Canberra Centre on Spa Road in Melksham and is funded entirely by grants, donations and fundraising activities. To support the charity’s work with children and young people’s mental health please visit http://teentalk.org.uk/donate . To find our more about Young Melksham you can visit their main website at http://youngmelksham.org.uk.