Drop-In Centre to Offer Counselling; MENTAL HEALTH: Team of Social Workers and Psychologists Set Up a Service in One of Wales's Most Deprived Areas

Western Mail (Cardiff, Wales), December 26, 2001 | Go to article overview
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Drop-In Centre to Offer Counselling; MENTAL HEALTH: Team of Social Workers and Psychologists Set Up a Service in One of Wales's Most Deprived Areas


Byline: FELICITY WATERS Health Reporter

A DROP-IN centre for children has been set up in one of the most deprived areas of Wales to help deal with an increase in mental-health and behavioural problems.

A team of qualified social workers and clinical and educational psychologists will be on hand to offer counselling to schoolchildren as well as their parents and teachers, thanks to a project funded by the Torfaen Primary Mental Health Care Team.

The service is not intended for professionals to use as a means of referring children to psychology services, but for the voluntary use of the wider community.

Alison White, an assistant clinical psychologist involved in the project said such a community service was badly needed in Torfaen where mental health problems were often ignored or treated as taboo.

"This service is open to children and teenagers who have concerns about things like sex, drugs and exams or who have other emotional problems that they feel they can't discuss anywhere else, " she said.

"We are also trying to encourage parents and teachers who may be suffering from stress and anxiety or want help in how to deal with disruptive or worrying behaviour.

"We have an experienced team of counsellors and nurses on hand who will be able to offer help in a relaxed and completely confidential environment."

Research has shown that children in poorer households are three times more likely to have mental health problems than children in well-off households.

The drop-in centre will be based at Trevethin school but advice and support is being offered to the wider community.

People using the service will initially be offered a 30-minute consultation session where they can discuss their concerns in confidence.

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