With recent studies showing a 60% rise in probable mental health conditions amongst young people since 2017, it is clear that the recent pandemic has resulted in a disproportionate impact on children and young adults. From remote schoolwork to missing out on vital social experiences, it now seems that protecting the mental health of our youth is more important than ever.

The Medicash Foundation, the charitable arm of Liverpool-based health cash plan provider Medicash, is proud to support the Mersey Counselling and Therapy Centre (MCTC), a local charity who provide therapy sessions to young people who are struggling, with a grant of £7,775.

MCTC was established in 2011, with a mission to provide fully professional counselling and psychotherapy to anyone in need, regardless of their financial capabilities.

MCTC’s Fundraising and Business Manager, Charlotte Bilton, says: “Thanks to the generosity of Medicash, MCTC have been able to continue to provide counselling and psychotherapy sessions throughout the pandemic and beyond. We have even been able to extend our reach by offering online therapy, a service set up in response to Covid, which has proved so successful that we now reach over 60% of our clients this way. Our client list is now bigger than ever.”

MCTC began to focus on children and young people as a standalone project in 2018, as they discovered that youth services were often inaccessible to many. By the end of March 2022, there were 394,359 people in contact with NHS children and young people’s mental health services. This increased demand has meant that wait times are longer and care cannot always be provided in a timely manner.

MCTC’s hard work has resulted in significantly shorter wait times than many other mental health resources and services, and their session times are longer than most, providing attendees with 90 minutes of support and counselling at a time, as opposed to an average of 60. The charity also works to adapt their methods to fit the needs of each individual, offering flexible session times, and art therapists for young people who do not have the emotional vocabularies to express themselves.

“We are delighted to know that the Medicash Foundation’s recent donation will grant many young people across Merseyside access to vital mental health services” said Sue Weir, Medicash Chief Executive and Foundation Trustee. “We are so pleased that we have been able to play a part in Merseyside Counselling and Therapy Centre’s impactful and invaluable work across the region.”

MCTC has an inclusive and wide-ranging client base, with session attendees ranging from ages 7 to 83, and treatment being provided for individuals with many different diagnoses, including anxiety and depression, OCD, addictions, schizophrenia, personality disorders, bipolar disorder, as well as many self-referrals from people who are struggling, yet are without a set diagnosis.

MCTC’s Charlotte Bilton concludes: “Our main focus is to work directly with those young people who are on the edges of mainstream society in ways which encourage inclusion, integration and independence by building resilience and giving young people the tools to regulate their emotions.”

Find out how you can support Mersey Counselling and Therapy Centre, or access their services, at https://www.mctcwirral.org.uk/