Counselling charity struggling to cope with rise in demand

PUBLISHED: 11:59 06 August 2018 | UPDATED: 11:59 06 August 2018

Wellspring chairman Chris Serle (left) with Kath Hosking office administrator, and outgoing director Chris Daniels, with incoming director Sarah Rees (right).

Wellspring chairman Chris Serle (left) with Kath Hosking office administrator, and outgoing director Chris Daniels, with incoming director Sarah Rees (right).


A counselling service has seen a significant increase in the number of people seeking help.

Wellspring director Sarah Rees.Wellspring director Sarah Rees.

Wellspring has reported a ‘considerable rise’ in demand over the past 18 months which has left the Nailsea-based charity struggling to keep up with the influx.

The charity offers affordable counselling for adults and a free service for young people aged 11-25 in North Somerset.

Healthcare experts believe long waiting lists for NHS counselling services, coupled with a number of celebrities speaking out about mental health problems has led to the increase.

Director Sarah Rees said: “Wellspring has seen a considerable rise in demand for both our adult and young people counselling services in the past 18 months.

“It’s hard to pinpoint exactly why this is, but we believe the publicity by well-known public figures speaking out about their own struggles and encouraging people to ask for help, may have had an impact on demand.

“Reducing the shame that has previously been attached to asking for help is vitally important.

“However, having increased service provision in place has not yet happened, leaving many clients frustrated.”

A survey carried out by an online services marketplace – – has reported a 65 per cent increase in demand for private counselling services since 2016.

The firm surveyed patients who had booked through the website and discovered 77 per cent sought help privately because NHS waiting lists are too long.

Wellspring is often the first port of call for people in North Somerset.

Sarah added: “Wellspring has no statutory funding for our counselling work and is often the first place clients come for help when the NHS can’t see them, but we are struggling to keep up with demand.

“Wellspring is particularly important as a service which supports local people who can’t afford to pay for private counselling.

“Wellspring supports the ongoing campaigns for mental health to receive equal attention and funding alongside physical health, especially given what is known about the impact of poor mental health on outcomes 
for physical health treatments.”

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