Talk in the Bay
News by Angela Belassie
A TEN-fold increase in people seeking support for issues such as depression and anxiety has persuaded counselling experts in Cardiff to expand their services.
Talk in the Bay has opened an office in Bristol after seeing client numbers soar from 10 a week to nearly a hundred since it started five years ago.
Depression, anxiety disorders and relationship difficulties are the top reasons people seek their services.
And with the World Health Organisation (WHO) predicting depression will be the biggest health burden by 2030, numbers could be set to increase even more.
Co-founder and partner Allyson Edmunds said: “The biggest issues for people to come to us for counselling are depression, anxiety disorders and relationship difficulties. Depression can affect someone’s ability to be fully functional in their job and maintain good quality relationships.
“People attend therapy with a wide range of presenting issues such as anxiety, stress, low self-esteem/confidence, past or present trauma, grief and loss. All these issues may be related to an underlying depression.
“Depression plays a part in relationship issues in that it can cause communication difficulties, lack of sexual desire, anger, and possibly lead to affairs.
“But I think people are becoming much more accepting of seeking professional help, which is partly why the numbers are increasing, especially amongst the male population.
“There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to having therapy as everybody experiences difficulties in their lives. Sometimes we need help coping with difficult events.
“If people don’t get help it can lead to withdrawal, isolation and relationships may deteriorate. Trying to brush issues under the carpet can be unhealthy - it can also lead to the breakdown of families and, in extreme circumstances, suicide.”
The team of counsellors, psychotherapists and CBT Practitioners has increased from two to 18 to meet the demand.
Laura Gregory, , owner of the Bristol office in Temple Quay and associate partner at Talk in the Bay, said: “The main reasons people to come to us for counselling are depression, anxiety disorders and relationship difficulties. Sometimes the issues are related and the underlying causes of depression and anxiety tend to be relationship issues, bereavement and work-related concerns.
“Depression can be like having a cloud hanging over your life. Depending on the level, it can affect your ability to function on a day-to-day basis. And if people don’t deal with it, there’s a risk it could get worse.
“Depression is about pushing things down, so it’s important to have someone to speak to so you can release that pressure. There shouldn’t be a stigma attached to having therapy as we all experience difficulties in our lives and sometimes we need help to cope with it.”
An Affordable Service is also available at both the Bristol and Cardiff sites. It has been set up to bridge the gap between long waiting lists – with the NHS or voluntary services - and expensive therapy.
Mandy Walsh, co-founder and partner, added: “We want to try and make counselling available to as many people as possible.
“Counselling can help people in many ways. Firstly, it helps people to know they are not alone with their difficulties. It can help them gain greater self-awareness and improve self-confidence.
“It can alleviate stress and enable people to feel more in control of their life choices. In turn, this can help people improve their relationships and lead more fulfilled and enjoyable lives.
“We want everybody to be able to reap the benefits of counselling, which can greatly help people’s emotional wellbeing. We all know it’s important to look after our bodies, so why not our minds?”
Talk in the Bay has been based in Cardiff since September, 2008. Its services are now available at Friary in Temple Quay, Bristol.