Counselling available to the most vulnerable    

11th February 2021

A counselling service review at Ulverston Mind means it no longer has a waiting list, making it more available to the most vulnerable.

Through its counselling service, the charity offers the opportunity to talk about and work through any emotional or psychological problems a client may be experiencing over a ten-week period.

The charity, based on Queen Street, was able to undertake a comprehensive review of the service after it received £1,800 from the Brian and Ann Clark Fund, making sure it meets local needs and is run in compliance with the ethical standards required of the British Association for Counselling & Psychotherapy (BACP).

Elizabeth Jones, Treasurer said: “The review included speaking with volunteers, staff and clients to see what was working well and what can be improved, along with looking at our policies and procedures. This showed areas of improvement to include waitlist management and risk assessments. The therapy agreement needed to be rewritten, internal counsellor reviews conducted, training needs identified for volunteer counsellors and outcome measures needed to be introduced to track progress.

“We introduced pre-counselling assessments, which has helped us to identify potential clients with urgent needs or at risk of suicide. We identified how to proactively manage our waiting list, which has now been cleared. We have now rebuilt the team with six fully qualified counsellors, and three volunteers trained in pre-counselling assessment. The service is now providing counselling for an average of 20 sessions per week, with most clients having 10 sessions overall, although some receive more than this.”

Ulverston Mind was established over 30 years ago to deliver mental health services in the area. Each year, around 60 clients use the service and some of the many issues brought to counselling may include family and other relationship problems, childhood abuse, domestic violence, traumatic events, benefits-related issues and unemployment, anxiety and depression, eating disorders, alcohol dependency, bereavement, self-harm, work stress, rape, domestic violence, and loneliness.

“We now ask for a fee of £10 per session to help cover our costs but we reduce this for those in severe financial hardship,” said Elizabeth. “We calculate the cost of one counselling session to be £30, compared to private sessions costing over £40. This means that our service is often the only way our clients can access professional counselling.”