A Bath-based charity which helps people who suffer from phobias and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder has been awarded a £9,700 National Lottery grant to extend its services to 16 to 18-year-olds.
The charity works with the estimated ten per cent of people in the city who suffer from phobias and the two to three per cent who suffer from Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD).
Triumph Over Phobia (TOP) runs successful self-help groups in London, Bristol, Bath, Torbay, Plymouth, Cardiff, Jersey and Ireland.
Until now, it has been able to help only adults, but recent research revealed that a growing number of young people are also in need of support.
TOP national director Trilby Breckman said that over the last three years, the charity had seen a significant rise in the number of calls from parents and carers looking for help and support for their children suffering with the anxiety disorders that TOP specialises in.
In addition, it had become clear that there could be problems for young people making the transition from child and adolescent health care to services for adults.
Ms Breckman explained: “We know that discharge from a child and adolescent mental health service (CAMHS) and a potential move to an adult mental health service (AMHS) takes place at varying ages, but most commonly when young people are aged between 16 and 18.
“A major problem for young people is that they are sometimes too old to access CAMHS as a child but then at the same time they are too young to enter the AMHS.
“The result is that young people with mental health problems frequently find themselves without professional support or a referral to an adult service.
“Additionally if they do get a referral the adult services are likely to be ill-equipped to meet their needs.
“Thanks to this grant from the National Lottery we will now be able to provide essential support for these young people wherever we become aware of a need.
“TOP’s self-help groups, which in the UK are recommended by the NHS, can provide immediate help. You do not need to have seen a doctor or have a formal diagnosis to attend.
“They meet once a week and are run by trained volunteers, many of whom have overcome a phobia or OCD themselves.”
To express an interest in joining a group, call Trilby on 01225 571740, or visit the TOP website at www.topuk.org.