Mersey Counselling and Therapy Centre
MCTC is a small mental health charity offering low cost and no cost counselling and psychotherapy to anyone in need, regardless of ability to pay. MCTC does not have a waiting list at the moment. They offer 90 minute sessions enabling in depth therapy to take place, no limit on the number of sessions available, a totally non-clinical environment so that people come into a calm, relaxed space for their therapy and 24/7 suicide prevention support offering people telephone access to their own therapist at any time. For information on how to book please visit their website.
How does your organisation contribute to preventing suicide and supporting those affected by it?
MCTC offers counselling and psychotherapy support to anyone in need, whether self-referred or referred by various NHS agencies – Liaison Psychiatry, A&E, Crisis Teams, Access Teams, GPs, CPNs etc – and other agencies including Probations Services, Women and Children’s Services, Hospices.
For all clients presenting at MCTC with any level of suicidal thoughts or ideation, past or present, our therapists invite them to an agreement whereby they agree not to harm themselves until they have spoken to their therapist. The therapists offer their own phone number for contact day or night 365 days a year.
There is no limit on the number of sessions available to clients so therapists are able to stay alongside people who are feeling suicidal for as long as necessary.
MCTC requires all their therapists to attend an annual two day mandatory training on suicide prevention. They are not allocated any suicidal clients until they have completed this training. To date (from June 2011) MCTC has a 0% suicide rate.
MCTC offers ongoing support to anyone bereaved by suicide who presents at the Centre and because, we do not limit the number of sessions available to any individual, this support can continue for as long as needed.
What are your current priorities?
Contact other organisations- start/continue discussions with them re suicide prevention and care of those bereaved by suicide and offer training to these organisations. We will continue to train our own therapists in suicide prevention and open the training to other organisations.
What challenges are you currently facing?
As a counselling centre, MCTC is not able to significantly influence access to the means of suicide.
We have talked informally to other agencies and services about our policy/practice of suicide prevention. Most are impressed but feel that they could not offer the same service in their own organisations at the present time due to the personal commitment required from the therapists.
Another challenge is finding enough therapists with a high enough level of training and, at least as important, with a commitment to their own personal interior growth and development. We see this as essential for anyone working with suicidal people.