A ‘lifeline’ for vulnerable people at the risk of self-harming has received a funding boost.
Over 300 people have called the new helpline for the Self-Harm Awareness For All (SAFA Cumbria) charity which has been supported by The Cumberland.
The Barrow-based charity, providing counselling and support for those who self-harm and their immediate families and carers, plans to continue its phone counselling service into the new year, while it is estimated that demand for the service will be especially high over Christmas.
SAFA Project Manager Kath Threlkeld said: “SAFA always has high demand and a waiting list for our 'normal' one-to-one counselling service with self-harmers.
“To help the local community we mobilised our counsellors and set up an emotional support helpline to help anyone in Cumbria - not just people who self-harm - but anyone who was adversely affected by the pandemic. This might have been bereavement, worsening of an existing mental health condition, anxiety, or isolation.
“We have used 300 helpline slots since the lockdown and the feedback is that it was a lifeline - especially when so many regular channels of support were closed. “
Over recent times, demand for SAFA’s counselling service has risen significantly, with the majority of referrals falling within the 11-19 year old ages.
The Cumberland supported the charity with a £5,000 grant, helping them to continue providing the vital counselling for their 240 clients every year.
Cindy Daltioni, SAFA Chief Executive, said: “We are able to help people who exhibit self-harm behaviours - including eating disorders. Our main offering is one-to-one professional counselling which aims to get to the root of the reason behind the self-harm and provide alternate coping strategies.
“SAFA also supports friends and families via our newly introduced family support worker. We are also currently working on an extensive suite of online resources for our website – which can help those who may not feel quite ready for face to face counselling.
“We are very grateful to The Cumberland for their support for the vital work we done – it is sometimes quite literally, lifesaving. If anyone is suffering with self-harm of any kind, we encourage them to make a referral to our service.”
And since Covid-19 hit, the charity has extended its support offering an emotional support helpline for anyone across Cumbria – not just people who self-harm.
Lyndsey Taylor, Barrow & Ulverston Branch Manager at The Cumberland, said it was vital that vulnerable people could have “The increasing numbers of people struggling, particularly during this crisis hits home how important vital support services offered by organisations like SAFA Cumbria are. This is why I’m really pleased we were able to help the team with this grant to continue to deliver the vital support work they do for people across the county.”
For more information please visit safa-selfharm.com.