A MENTAL health charity has been able to step up its telephone support service, thanks to a grant of £7,000.

Conwy Mind has experienced a huge increase in calls from people facing emotional and mental health challenge during the current pandemic.

Measures, such as social distancing, forced Conwy Mind to suspend all its face-to-face services, including groups, course and one-to-one appointments, but a grant of more than £7,000 - from the Steve Morgan Foundation Covid-19 Emergency Fund - has now enabled the team to enhance its support strategy with telephone counselling.

“We’ve seen an increase in general anxiety. People are feeling lonely and isolated, trying to deal with events beyond their control,” said Denise Roberts, chief executive at Conwy Mind.

“As the leading mental health charity in Conwy, we are very much still here and available for anybody who needs us.

“Although we can’t currently be there for people face-to-face, we are making sure that we can support them effectively in other ways.

“The grant from the Steve Morgan Foundation has been a brilliant boost and we’re so grateful. It’s given us the ability to develop our talking therapies services quickly at this time of need."

Five members of staff from Conwy Mind are currently providing telephone support from home.

Following an initial assessment, callers can access one-to-one sessions with qualified counsellors and up to six sessions are available free of charge.

Denise added: "Some of the main issues people are experience at this time include loss of purpose and structure and worries about the future when lockdown ends, loneliness, relationship strain, job loss and financial difficulties and for some, a compounding of existing mental health conditions.

"We are being contacted by people who have never come to us before. They want to learn strategies to help themselves to cope with the current unprecedented situation."

Since the beginning of lockdown in late March, more than 25 million people in the UK have reported high levels of anxiety.

"We set up our telephone counselling service eight weeks ago and calls have exceeded our initial targets by 50 per cent to date," Denise said.

"We are looking to expand the service by taking on more counsellors.

"Our telephone and online services mean we can continue offer support to the 138 towns and villages in Conwy and the isolated rural areas."

Contact Conwy Mind on 01492 879907 or email info@conwymind.org.uk or visit the website conwymind.org.uk