Susan Scarth: Help us help people at their lowest ebb

The Joshua Nolan Foundation helps people who fear they have nowhere else to turn. Picture: PA
The Joshua Nolan Foundation helps people who fear they have nowhere else to turn. Picture: PA
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The Joshua Nolan Foundation (JNF) offers a unique service for people who have come to the end of the road.

Due to poor mental health and wellbeing, many of the people they help are living on low wages or are on benefits due to regular bouts of illness.

Susan Scarth UKCP MCAT is a body-oriented psychotherapist.

Susan Scarth UKCP MCAT is a body-oriented psychotherapist.

They often can’t afford to seek the help they need from experienced counsellors and therapists with specific skills in areas like trauma and drug addiction.

JNF counsellors and therapists work with people in Edinburgh, offering tailor-made sessions that can be offered over a long-term period, depending on the individual.

READ MORE: Edinburgh suicide charity in funding plea to save vital services

Some people need at least a year to deal with a chronic condition that have developed over many years, whilst others can gain insight and new skills within three to six sessions that can set them on a more positive trajectory through life.

I have been a JNF counsellor since February 2017 and I’ve found it to be a rich and rewarding experience. In this time I’ve offered nine people between three and 50 sessions each.

All my clients are struggling when I first meet them, often with high levels of anxiety or regular depressive episodes, and more often than not they have had serious suicidal thoughts or made several attempts to take their own life.

It’s very often the case that a client has experienced violence, neglect or sexual abuse since childhood and have developed coping mechanisms like taking drugs, drinking to excess, and other self-harming activities.

Very often they have difficulties with maintaining, or even establishing, positive relationships and so often become lonely and isolated. This can exacerbate their unhealthy coping strategies, leading to suicidal thoughts.

READ MORE: Suicide charity run changed Zoe’s life

It’s often difficult for a GP to offer support as symptoms are rarely clear cut. Many are offered anti-depressants, prescription drugs, cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) sessions, or basic counselling meetings. When they prove to be ineffective, the individual feels as though they have nowhere else to turn.

JNF offers a truly vital service to the community. When a person is offered an insight into their condition, followed by techniques to help reduce their destructive behaviour, they are able to positively change the dynamic of their relationships – in the family, at work, in social groups – in turn having a positive effect on the community as a whole.

We should never underestimate how many people are affected when a person is unable to maintain a regular job, or a stable home.

Please do consider joining the campaign to Save the Joshua Nolan Foundation.

Susan Scarth UKCP MCAT is a body-oriented psychotherapist. The Save JNF Campaign aims to raise £150,000 to save and sustain the charity. As little as £40 can pay for one counselling session for a person at risk of suicide. £500 could pay for a full block of sessions, potentially saving a life. To donate to the Save JNF campaign go to https://mydonate.bt.com/events/savejnf