Tor Support in Okehampton opened their doors to local MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride recently to discuss the important work they do in supporting young people between 5 and 25. Dependent on grants and donations, their counselling services are free and confidential.
The organisation based at, but separate from, Okehampton College has fourteen counsellors, including six volunteers, with a range of specialities that enable them to support local children and young people with a variety of mental health issues. These include anxiety and depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm, bereavement, social anxiety, addiction, behavioural problems, eating disorders and gender dysphoria. They are also supporting a number of young people who are also suffering abuse or neglect.
During the past year Tor Support has helped 235 young people, taking the total number they have supported since they were established 13 years ago to more than 2,000. Mr Stride met with Dr Kathryn Vile, Dr Emma Sircar, Officer Manager Nicola Frost and Treasurer Tony Barker.
Dr Vile explained:
“It was very useful to welcome Mel and discuss the vital work we do supporting local young people, some of whom are at crisis point. We were keen to emphasise our constant struggle to raise sufficient funds to retain our level of provision. Without us, many of our clients would not be able to access counselling in any other way.”
Mr Stride, who helped to deliver an additional £2.3 billion a year for mental health services while serving as a treasury minister, added:
“We are lucky to have such a fantastic service supporting so many young people in and around Okehampton. The majority of long-term mental health problems can be traced back to a young age so early support makes a massive difference. I will certainly support their fundraising efforts in any way I can.”