Carol Harmston-Dean, owner of JHD Counselling

As a nation, have we ever had quite so much to be anxious about?

It’s good to talk. And with 30 trained counsellors, JHD Counselling has been helping people across the UK with a huge array of issues from anxiety and depression to bereavement, grief and loss, home and work stress, relationships, sexuality and identity, self-harm, anger management, and many more besides.

When the Coronavirus pandemic saw cases in the UK rise rapidly in March ahead of a national lockdown, many people predicted a national mental health crisis would follow.

JHD Counselling owner Carol Harmston-Dean said that while many people suffered greatly, most in the first lockdown coped relatively well.

People adapted to working from home and home-schooling. More than a million people became volunteers. Lots of people embraced new-founded family time, others tried new hobbies or learned new skills.

But as cases rise sharply again, with no signs of when the pandemic may end, a genuine mental health crisis is now emerging. The NHS waiting for counselling – just for the initial assessment – now runs at seven and a half months, just as people need urgent support.

The rainy weather and the prospect of clocks going back this weekend, bringing darker nights, doesn’t help. Lots of people have work concerns and money worries with Christmas approaching. Worst of all, there is a feeling of a real lack of control and where we are headed, usually so vital to wellbeing.

JHD Counselling has been meeting calls for help with individuals, families, schools, colleges and businesses in recent weeks.

Carol Harmston-Dean said: “We are definitely busier now than we have been. Everyone is struggling.

“We are having people who have never been anxious before in their life, and now they are saying to us ‘what is happening to me?’

“Everybody was saying that with the first Coronavirus lockdown, there was going to be a big mental health crisis and we didn’t really see it.

“But there is one now.

“We took in 17 new referrals last week, and six alone on Monday this week.

“People are worried about their job security, their finances, their relationships.

“Most people coped with the first Coronavirus lockdown quite well, with all the home schooling and the home working.

“But now it is all happening again and it is creating huge uncertainty. Nobody knows what is going to happen.

“Human beings love routine and structure, and many people are struggling badly without having that in their lives any more.

“During the first lockdown, people had hope. But hope is going now and people are seeking help.

“I have had a few people saying this is going to last for six months, others think it will be with us for a couple of years, some have said it will be around for the next six years.

“The NHS waiting list for counselling now is seven and a half months, and that is just for the initial assessment.

“It is catastrophic for people.

“One of our USPs is that people will not be left waiting for us.

“All clients referred to us are spoken to within 24 hours and they will be offered an initial assessment within five days.

“We have completely slashed our fees to provide as much help as we can for people.

“We are offering one-off 30-minute sessions for just £15, but for anyone who does need therapy, we will charge just £25 per session instead of our usual £45.”

After three years of studying, Carol qualified as an integrative counsellor in 2007.

Since then she has been a self-employed counsellor working from home. Private practice work has included 1-2-1 counselling both face-to-face and over the telephone.

She decided to expand her private practice to become an organisation, JHD Counselling, rather than a single counsellor. She has worked hard to build up a dedicated and loyal team of counsellors that are excellent practitioners.

As her team has taken over more responsibilities for the running of JHD, Carol has been able to set up in private practice in the North West of England, where she resides, in addition to managing JHD. Her private practice includes working as an associate therapist for Lancs Constabulary and as a therapist for staff within local academy schools.

Counselling Services are available across the UK, or a face to face service available throughout Cambridgeshire and the North West.

For more information please call 07811794203 to book now or visit: http://www.jhdcounselling.co.uk/counselling-services-booking-form/.

After booking an appointment using our online form, Carol will contact you to discuss your requirements in more detail. Any details submitted are always kept confidential.

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