When it comes to mental health, many people are sometimes reluctant to get help and due to this, consequences not only for the individual, but also for society can arise.

Some people are not even aware that they can be helped. Many people are embarrassed, possibly due to the stigmas that surround mental health. People sometimes deal with their frustrations and anxieties in other ways, ways that can are harmful to themselves and possibly others- whether it being through direct or indirect methods. There is no one answer as to why people “don’t just seek help” but often it could be that getting help is not always that simple, especially when you’re a young adult.

Off the Record are a non-profit organization founded in 1965, based in Bristol (and surrounding areas), which helps young people, aged 11 to 25, deal with mental health issues through specialist, self-referral and confidential mental health services. Off the Record work with many local Colleges, Secondary and Primary Schools to increase accessibility of support for young people, but the charity are also open to any young people who require help.

Off The Record Local Bristol Charity Celebrates 50 years

Off the Record have many means of dealing with helping young people through various methods, some of these include: counseling, youth support workers, groups and workshops. Additionally, Off the Record aims to educate young people on sexual health but also sexuality and gender issues, which is essential because these issues are prevalent mostly among young individuals. It is important that they feel like they are understood, heard and not alone. The charity places importance on creating a welcoming and safe atmosphere to allow the young people to really feel safe and face their problems through healthy, beneficial means of expression. Off the Record have been successful in teaching the young individuals methods of expression, such as: through art therapy, participation in various projects Off the Record have to offer and much more!

To celebrate next year being their 50th year, Off the Record have recently launched a new and improved website which has a lot of emphasis on how to gain access to their services but most importantly information on mental health to help educate young people. Their new website is animated, quirky and perfect for relating to young people. Additionally, the revamped website is very easy to navigate around, whilst providing vital information about mental health in an accessible way- all in all giving an excellent impression of the charity.

Off the Record Bristol Mental Health Charity Launch New Website

After reading a few testimonials featured on the website, it is evident that the words used most to describe the Off the Record environment are: safe, warm and comfortable. These characteristics are essential when dealing with the fragility of mental health issues but even more important as this charity is primarily focused on young people.

Below is an example of a testimony and how Off the Record has helped a young person:

The staff here have been incredible, making me feel comfortable and at ease. I think they’ve probably saved my life/health and I can’t thank OTR enough. I’m not entirely better but I am getting there.” – Andy

This charity raises some fundamental arguments concerning young people and their mental health. One of the most important issues raised is that all young people should have access to free and beneficial therapeutic support and Off the Record promotes this. Additionally, something that should be pointed out is that the organization is run by young individuals, this is crucial as it helps create more of a connection with the young adults, thus aiding in making them feel understood. Off the Record also encourages the young people to not just have a voice but also participate and play an integral role in the organization. All in all, the Off the Record have excellent principles and set an example of how young people with mental health issues should be dealt with; an example which the rest of the country should follow concerning young people and their mental health.

If you want to find out more about Off the Record’s projects and services you can contact them at confidential@otrbristol.co.uk or visit their fantastic new website: http://www.otrbristol.org.uk/otr_may14/. You can even volunteer as a counsellor or a trustee if you are nearby.

Off the record charity celebrate 50 years

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About Author

Jemma De Jonge is a second year Criminology & Psychology student at Royal Holloway, University of London. Growing up in Malawi has led to Jemma being very passionate about many causes, with particular focus on women's rights, animal welfare, education and poverty alleviation.

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