A REDDITCH community interest company says it is being inundated with people struggling with their mental health.
The pandemic, redundancy, furlough, missed schooling as well as the every day problems of life have resulted in people making a beeline for Ahead of Wellbeing, behind Primark in the Kingfisher Shopping Centre.
Offering free, discounted and paid-for help, it’s even launched a fortnightly youth club ito channel the energies of local young people struggling to cope.
“We are so busy,” said joint director Sadie Jukes.
“Because we are a drop-in centre, if someone feels they need to come in and talk, then they are perfectly welcome to do so.
“We also do peer support groups and offer back to back mental health support.”
She added that with the NHS struggling to cope, many people were turning to them.
“You don’t want to be hard on the NHS, but the system is struggling, with some people waiting up to 18 months for a mental health appointment.
“Some people simply can’t wait that long, so they come to us for a person to person talk.”
A youth club on the second Thursday of the month has been particularly successful.
“We have been over-run with teenagers, who’ve been concerned about the time they’ve had off school, missing massive chunks of their education, worry about their exams.
“I think a lot of the problems our youngsters have are being faced by teenagers across the country.”
She added that in the sessions running up to Christmas they’d be making gifts to try and ease the financial burden on families.
Such has been the success of Ahead of Wellbeing that it has been recognised by West Mercia Police, which is making a £500 donation to swell its coffers.
“We are underfunded – we have a small crystal shop, and use the retail to prop up what we do.
“Also as directors we don’t take a full wage but make it up elsewhere.”
To contact Ahead of Wellbeing, call 07974 551052