The Nottingham Counselling Service has revealed a 300% increase in clients over the past three years.
For nearly fifty years the NCS has provided affordable, accessible counselling and therapy across Nottinghamshire. They are busier now, than they have ever been.
Leslie McDonald, the service’s Chief Executive, says that “in 2017/18, we were taking just under 400 referrals per year. This year we’re taking 100+ of referrals per month, so there is a high level of demand on our services.”
Despite this surge of clients, and the fact that men make up 75% of suicides across the UK, only 40% of NCS clients are male.
However this is still significantly higher than most counselling service’s across the country. Leslie suggests that the reason more men are willing to seek help with his organisation is because ‘we (NCS) encourage anybody, any background, any circumstances to then be able to come forward and access services’.
The NCS is not the only Nottingham-based service dealing with the mental health pandemic.
Nottinghamshire Fire & Rescue have also seen an increase in suicide situations, with callouts related to the issue going up by a third in the last three years, as found by an FOI request.
Of the various districts of the County, the City centre fared the worst, with the number of deaths in the area increasing from 28 to 43 from 2016-2018. However, that’s to be expected with it’s higher population density.
While some areas, such as Gedling and Rushcliffe, have also seen a decrease, it points to an overall increase, with 90 deaths happening in 2018/19 overall.
Suicide rates in the UK are on the increase, with the last available data showing a jump from 9.3 to 10.47 per 100,000 people between 2017 and 2018.
When asked about these stats, Leslie said there’s no clear answer as to why the increase has happened, but it may have something to do with a society that speaks about mental health to a greater extent than before.
“There used to be a lot of stigma,” he says, “but through to general awareness-raising, people are more open to talking about how they’re feeling.”
To get help in the UK:
The Nottingham Counselling Service is open Monday to Friday and can be reached on 0115 950 1743.
The Samaritans are open 24 hours a day. Call 116 123 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.