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Is Phone Counselling the Answer to the Mental Health Crisis?

Shock waves went through the media earlier this year when The Sheffield Hallam University student Nicola Kaye killed herself after being told she would have to wait a year before she could have NHS support for her psychosis. With funding being squeezed on the NHS, waiting times for mental health sufferers are getting longer and longer and the tragic avoidable death of this desperate young woman is a chilling example of how waiting too long for help can have a disastrous impact on someone in a bad way and in need of urgent help.

.In a world where we are literally bombarded with communication from every angle it seems incredible that someone can feel so alone and have no one to talk to during a time of crisis. In the digital economy, so many services now exist online and with Skype and telephone and a myriad ways to communicate, connecting with people all over the world has become so easy, so could it be that there is an alternative solution? Thousands of coaches and advisors operate this way so why not counsellors.

David Wilson, founder of telephone counselling service Your Mind At Ease, is fulfilling his vision of being able to reach people across the country and bypass all the obstacles we are facing with traditional counselling:

“Traditional therapy is a wonderful thing and has helped thousands of sufferers. But so much about it doesn’t work for a lot of people. Going to a counsellor can be a very intimidating prospect and the idea of having to go face to face with someone in a small room can put people off completely. Coupled with then having to wait for months and also commit to a block of sessions - it certainly doesn’t appeal to me!

So it made me think, is there an alternative way to help people where they can feel a little bit less intimidated by the whole face to face scenario? Thats when I realised that phone counselling could be the answer. I looked at all sorts of ways to do it and in the end decided that it needed to be a service with no waiting lists and no minimum time requirement. That applies to both how long you talk and how many sessions you have. The idea is that when you are in trouble and need to talk to someone, you can just pick up the phone and get the support you need there and then, for as little as 10 minutes if thats all you need. And it doesn’t has to be for just personal issues. I want Your Mind At Ease to be apace where all kind of problems can addressed - work problems, financial stresses, legal matters as well as relationships an family conflicts. Somewhere people can turn for advice at any time pf day.”

Often with mental health issues or a crisis in our lives people need help without delay. This might not be realistic with traditional therapy because naturally things need to be arranged but with a service like this you can literally can pick up the phone when you feel you can’t cope anymore. And that might well be the moment it is most beneficial. Some people might prefer the in-person experience but as David Wilson says it can actually be off putting if you are nervous or even feel some shame about asking or help.

Rev Martin who is now working with Your Mind At Ease thinks that phone counselling is a fantastic solution for people on the move, “Not everyone has time to commit to regular counselling because of work issues and family commitments Many people are going from appointment to appointment, commuting to and from work and just can’t factor in another meeting in their day. However with telephone counselling you can just call up when you have the time and get a quick response when needing help with some issues. That could be during a work break or at the weekend when you have more time. With bluetooth you can just plug n your phone and speak to someone whilst driving. It fits around the modern lifestyle. “

With so many fantastic counsellors across the country wanting to help people but finding themselves with less and less hours of paid work and hundreds of people on waiting lists or unable to incorporate traditional therapy, a service like this can connect these two groups together. David Wilson says “I have talked to literally hundreds of therapists and counsellors around the uk and the idea has been met with amazing enthusiasm. These counsellors are so keen to be able to reach people and with phone counselling geography no longer has to limit the contact between these two groups of people.”

Counsellor and Psychotherapist Jean Stanton who has joined Your Mind at Ease as one of their telephone counsellors is very enthusiastic about this new way of working: “I have been in practice for over 15 years. Throughout that time I have known of many people who were unable to get into my practices (central London and Sussex). This may because of illness, disability, distance, inability to travel or many other possibilities. Whenever time would allow, I would visit people individually at home, but the limitations are obvious. Telephone counselling opens up counselling to everyone at a time that suits them. “

For people who aren’t ready for counselling yet, Your Mind At Ease also offers a Q and A on social media where people can put their questions direct to their counsellors if they are looking for an answer to a problem. This gives them a chance to have get a feel for the service and the counsellors involved and if they want to go further and have a private chat then they can do that. The great thing is there is no commitment required. You can just use the service as and when you need it. For those who want longer term help, that is available too.

While some people might prefer the old fashioned method of talking to someone face to face, telephone counselling certainly has some amazing advantages and could be an incredibly useful resource for so many people who just cant have a course of therapy. Whether that be for financial reasons, geographical limitation, a lack of time or simply not being comfortable with a face to face discussion about such personal issues. The great thing is that it is another option out there and more choice means you can find exactly the kind of therapy that suits you best.


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