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Pandemic’s impact is concern for counselling services in Gloucestershire

Written by: Andrew Merrell | Posted 19 May 2020 16:29

Pandemic’s impact is concern for counselling services in Gloucestershire

A bid to raise awareness of a rising demand for tackling children’s and families’ mental health across the county has been supported by the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire. 

Those working to help keep Gloucestershire well have used this year’s Mental Health Awareness Week to highlight major concerns about the effects of lockdown on us all. 

The national campaign highlighted the increased need for supporting our mental and emotional wellbeing during and the current Covid-19 pandemic. 

Gloucestershire Counselling Service (GCS) has continued to work tirelessly to support the county’s children and young people as well as their families who are all suffering with what the charity calls “mental health challenges”. 

According to a release from the statement from the organisation’s team “for many the lock-down is presenting yet more and in some cases, very serious pressures”. 

“Most of us have lost our familiar social contact and support structures and for most young people this has come at a time when socialising is so important to their development and wellbeing," said Emma Griffiths (pictured above), chief executive of GCS.

“On top of this the uncertainty of how things will develop and what the world will look like as time goes on is very unknown. For young people who are prone to anxiety this can be very debilitating,” said a statement from the charity, which provides over 10,000 counselling sessions each year to children, young people, adults, couples and families.   

Its work and this year’s Mental Health Week campaign message has been backed by Helen Lovatt, the High Sheriff of Gloucestershire. 

“My hope is that as we prepare for the new normal, the next pandemic is one of kindness,” said Ms Lovatt (pictured below). 

“It is reassuring that Gloucestershire is blessed with such a professional service as GCS supporting those facing the challenges of mental health issues. 

“I am shining a spotlight on the consequences of childhood traumas, to show that through forming trusted relationships, the potential negative outcomes can be transformed into positive ones. 

“I am sure that GCS’s services are an integral part of putting those foundations of trust in place, through kindness and compassion.” 

The statement from GCS added: “Equally parents are facing a huge task in managing their own mental health with children mostly home 24/7 and having to home-school with little clarity about when things will change in any significant way. 

“On top of which, many are coping with reduced or complete loss of income and if the family is already facing problems, this level of extra demand can become the tipping point. 

“We no longer have our familiar networks of support and outlets to express and enjoy ourselves, so we need to create and turn to others. 

“GCS has responded very quickly to maintain their services which are now being offered on-line and over the telephone. There is currently no waiting list for anyone seeking counselling at GCS.” 

GCS was founded in 1980, and is described as offering “high quality and affordable counselling to those on a limited income”. 

It is also the major training provider of counselling skills and qualifications in Gloucestershire, specialising in providing counselling and training counsellors to rigorous, professional standards. 

GCS is a registered charity and a British Association for Counselling And Psychotherapy Accredited Service. 

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