In the summer of 2021, our Nightstop project was fortunate enough to get the go ahead to set up a counselling service for the young people we are working with here. Our counsellor started working with us in June and since then has seen a total of eleven young people, seven of which have benefitted from an average of 12 sessions each.
Why counselling? Since the start of the pandemic at the beginning of 2020 the toll on the mental health of young adults has been huge. These young people have come to us homeless, traumatised, penniless and often in debt, jobless and in many instances ostracised from their own families. We have seen more and more of these young people in real pain, and suffering from low self-esteem with anxiety and depression and often turning to drugs or alcohol as a way of numbing the pain. These young people have often been marginalised and grown up feeling unloved and uncared for. They have certainly not thought of counselling as a solution.
We found a counsellor, Julia Penrose, who has a wealth of experience working with young adults, someone who has also worked for many years as a school counsellor, making her ideally suited to working with us.
To date, we have had some wonderful results and now have a waiting list for counselling. Our local authority and our funders, The Lottery, have praised us for ‘taking action to create a service that is making a real difference to the lives of the young people you are working with’.
Counselling is not for everyone, but those who have started on this journey really have seen a difference to their lives. One young woman has now moved on to university and is living in University housing in Bristol, another has managed to secure her own social housing property and moved into her new home last month feeling optimistic and hopeful for her future. Yet another is now contemplating completely changing course and moving away from Bath for a fresh start.
Here in Bath we are just so grateful that we have had the opportunity to set this service up and give some young people a little more hope. We are now in discussion with our funders to hopefully make this a permanent fixture to our Nightstop and Daystop service.
Bath Housing Team – Young People’s Service