How to access counselling without breaking the bank
AT SOME time in our lives we will all face challenges that push us to the brink. But receiving professional help can be expensive, alienating those who struggle to afford even life's basic needs.
Believing that financial circumstances should not stop people from accessing the support they need, a new group has launched in Penzance.
Counselling for Social Change aims to provide both face-to-face and phone counselling across the county.
"We believe everyone should be able to access counselling when they need it, regardless of income," said project manager Emily Apple.
"There are a lot of people with mental health problems, especially in the present economic climate, who can't afford private counselling. We want to support these people."
Although aiming to help those with little cash to spare, Ms Apple said the organisation itself has been set up "on a shoestring". The counsellors are all volunteers and the hub of operations is at one of their Penzance homes.
"We're building this as we go and trying to show that you can do this type of thing without a huge amount of money," she said. Along with the face-to-face and phone counselling, which will hopefully be rolled out countywide, the service also hopes to offer people a break at a community farm in west Cornwall, giving them the chance to take up intensive counselling while volunteering to help around the site.
"There is an enormous benefit to having contact with nature and the environment," said Ms Apple.
Part of the organisation's mission is to support people working to make a difference, whether they are carers, campaigners or volunteers.
"We are working with people who have come back from places like Palestine and Uganda," she said.
"They see and experience very traumatic events and there isn't much care post-return. People come back and can be a bit adrift."
Counselling services are being offered for between £7 and £12 and some people may be eligible for grants to cover even these costs.
For more information visit www.counsellingforsocialchange.org.uk.