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The current husband and I are fast approaching our 30th wedding anniversary. We usually mark Valentine’s Day with a meal out but of course we are all having to improvise at home with the help, in our case, of the ubiquitous Dine in for 2. The dishwasher is on the blink so it’s a win win! Instead of exchanging cards and gifts, this year we’ve decided to make a charitable donation and I asked my colleagues for recommendations for a local charity. Lockdown has been so difficult and referrals for support and counselling have increased by around 30%. Our family members have had the benefit of such support. We therefore decided to donate to Mersey Counselling (MCTC).

Please read more about the great work they do...

Mersey Counselling was established in 2011 by Angela O’Connor, who wanted to create a therapy centre that looked and felt like a home, where people in distress and pain are offered unconditional support. They provide counselling and therapy to anyone in need regardless of their ability to pay. No one is turned away, irrespective of their status, gender, age, ethnicity, psychiatric diagnosis, or any label that society may have placed on them. Clients have usually been unable to find help through the NHS and cannot pay for their own treatment. Clients can self-refer. The organisation is signposted from local community hubs such as GP surgeries, hospitals, schools and so on. They are highly regarded by fellow health professionals and have 18 therapists. All 18 give at least a day of their time, some a lot more. All are fully qualified and accredited or working towards accreditation.

MCTC knows that Covid-19 is having, and continues to have, an impact on mental health. Whether through the shock of lockdown, the loneliness of lockdown, lack of social interaction through self-isolation, the trauma of lockdown with an abusive partner, being denied access to mental health support that was previously in place, or the anxiety of not knowing when or how it will all end, the reasons are numerous and grow daily. Their therapists have adapted their ways of working in order to be available online for as many people as possible during these times. They have undergone rapid training and MCTC has developed capacity to support more people by video or phone. Their ethos remains the same, they never ask ‘what’s wrong with you’ but ‘what happened to you’. People affected psychologically by Covid are not ill, but they may be distressed and anxious by events outside of their control and that’s where MCTC can help. They work to build confidence, resilience, and self-esteem.

MCTC also operates a project locally, helping primary and secondary schools offer mental health and wellbeing advice. They provide inspirational speakers for pupils, groups and workshops for bereavement and self-esteem and are currently trialling the roll out of an app to encourage exercise, yoga, breathing exercises and wellbeing in primary schools. The project is funded by the Lottery and they are looking to reapply for funding in 2021.

If you would like to know more about MCTC or join with me in making a donation, please visit:

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