The number of people seeking help for mental health problems has once again risen in the Falkirk area, according to a district charity which supports those experiencing difficulties.
Falkirk and District Mental Health Association (FDAMH) says one in 70 people in the district turned to them over the past year for help.
The mental health charity’s annual report, published last week, demonstrates the vital service it provides the local community with a 13 per cent increase in the number of people accessing its services between April 2016 and March this year.
The service, which is supported by a team of 100 hard-working volunteers, has been working hard to meet the continued rise in demand, which also includes a “distinct growth” in young people, aged 25 and under, receiving support.
Over the monitoring period 350 young people used its Immediate Help Service – which offers urgent support without the need for an appointment – and also saw a 30 per cent increase in under-25s accessing it.
Through dedicated funding, those aged from 14-18 were able to access counselling quickly through FDAMH’s Young Person’s Counselling Service, with a total of 46 youngsters receiving one-to-one support.
A further 61 people between the ages of 19 and 24 also received counselling support.
Such is the demand for FDAMH’s services, the charity says its centre in Victoria Road is now too small and bigger premises are required.
As well as launching the dedicated counselling service for young people last year, new staff were taken on to cope with the increased demand.
FDAMH’s general manager Angela Price said: “Each year we see a rise in demand for our services and this year is no exception.
“Whilst delighted that this means that more people are seeking help we are also aware of the fact that this has an impact on waiting times for some of our services – a situation that we are constantly trying to address.
“Indeed, such is the demand that our lovely Victoria Centre – only ten-years-old – is now too small for us and we are actively trying to secure new premises.”
In its annual report, the charity also says the counselling service it offers to young people aged 14 above is “not enough”.
Ms Price added: “Just as not all adults need counselling, nor do all young people. Therefore, our goal is to be able to offer young people a similar range of services to those we currently offer to adults.”
FDAMH chairman David McClements is also keen to secure additional premises to the Victoria Centre. In the report, he said: “The public awareness of mental health issues has been growing recently and with it an acknowledgement of the need for more services and support.
“As can be seen from this report, FDAMH continues to grow to meet some of this need and the board is actively seeking new premises to allow us grow to offer more services, especially for young people.”
Over 30 people bereaved by suicide last year
FDAMH was established in 1981 as a mental health charity serving the Falkirk district.
It provides support to people from across the region experiencing, or affected by, poor mental health.
The charity promotes mental wellbeing through a range of services including social prescribing, counselling, befriending, a health and wellbeing drop-in, support groups and activities and an Immediate Help Service.
More than 2500 people benefitted from FDAMH’s services over the past year.
The Immediate Help Service supported 779 individuals last year.
There were 605 referrals for councelling, 41 per cent of which were from NHS services, with 26 per cent self-referring.
The social prescribing team worked with 404 people delivering support from two GP Practices and in-house within FDAMH.
A total of 363 families were supported by FDAMH’s family support service.
The mental health and wellbeing drop-In was visited by 210 individuals, with an average of 127 visits per week.
There were 31 people who were bereaved by suicide supported by FDAMH over the past year.
In the charity’s activity groups, 98 people engaged in 3846 hours of activities across 11 different groups.
In the befriending programme, 71 people aged between 16-61 received one-to-one and group befriending.
A total of 85 people between the ages of 55 to 97 years were supported with the help of 24 volunteers through Third Age Befriending; Women’s Group: 65 women participated in activities and social meet-ups.
For more information on FDAMH call 01324 671600 or visit www.fdamh.org.uk.