Arc's Volunteer Counsellors
We are currently welcoming our newest volunteer counsellors who will be starting with us in the coming weeks, and we wanted to showcase the impact this vital service has for our clients.
Arc have been working alongside Taunton and Bridgwater College for several years now, providing opportunities for students who are required to complete 100 hours of placement for their final year of Level 4 Counselling. These volunteer counsellors, although not yet fully qualified, make such a huge contribution to the lives of our clients and give them someone to speak to when they may otherwise feel alone. At the same time, the service also supports the students in their qualification and future career - it's a win win!
Accessing the counselling service is easy. Any client can request to meet with a counsellor, ensure that they are the right fit, and then schedule further appointments. This process often only takes a couple of days, meaning that those waiting for NHS services receive immediate support.
Since September 2021, 41 clients have received support from our volunteer counsellors. As this service takes place within Arc, it is easily accessible to clients. There is no limit to the number of counselling sessions a client can have - some may feel they only need a couple of appointments, whereas others may meet with their counsellor for several months. It all depends on the individual.
Homelessness and mental health facts:
- It is estimated that 80% of those experiencing homelessness also experience issues with their mental health, yet only 45% were found to have been officially diagnosed
- According to studies, the prevalence of common mental health problems is over twice as high amongst the homeless population compared to the general population, including major depression, schizophrenia, and bipolar disorder. In addition, it has been reported that cases of psychosis may be 4-15 times higher within the homeless community
- Mental health problems are often reported as the cause of homelessness, mainly through loss, trauma, or childhood experience
Further services available to Arc clients
- Homelessness itself can also be the cause of mental health problems, leading to depression, isolation, and anxiety as well as loss of security
Unfortunately, there is currently a huge amount of pressure on mental wellbeing services. By providing a range of facilities and activities that may benefit mental health, clients have the opportunity to access support whilst on waiting lists for assessment and treatment.
- Our wellbeing hub, the Reach Centre, is a dedicated space for external organisations to assist our clients with areas such as mental health. Being on site, the centre is easily accessible for clients and provides a working space for agencies such as Second Step, Nelson Trust, and the NHS.
- Our volunteer buddies provide 1-to-1 outings and activities with clients, reducing loneliness and isolation and improving confidence.
- Thanks to your wonderful donations, we are able to encourage activities that are known to improve mental health, by helping to provide items such as pushbikes, gardening equipment, art equipment, and swimming and gym memberships.
- Donations also help us to fund days out to the woods or beach, cinema tickets, transportation to see friends and family and visits to places such as Magdalen Farm where clients can work outside with animals - all great for mental health!