A mental health charity in Halifax has launched a new counselling service as a lifeline for those who cannot afford professional counselling.
Unmasked Mental Health was set up by three friends – Logan Smith, Doug Dennison and Robin Cunningham – who have battled and overcome mental health problems and want to help others do the same.
The charity launched in February 2019 via an app, allowing users to anonymously reach out for help, as well as participate in peer support sessions.
The professional counselling services are the latest addition to the extensive services they provide. The sessions are open to anyone who needs them and can be be booked online for a minimum £10 donation.
The affordability of the counselling sessions is an important factor to the co-founders, who have personally experienced having to prioritise paying bills over getting the support they needed.
Logan said: “I have had first-hand experience of having to miss much-needed counselling sessions because I couldn’t afford it that week.
“We wanted to provide a service where mental health could come first and be accessible to anyone, regardless of financial situation.”
Doug added: “The name ‘Unmasked’ came from describing how I would feel when I was getting dressed in the morning.
“I would put on my pants, shirt, socks, shoes and coat ready to leave the house and the last thing I did before leaving was put on my mask and pretend I was OK to the rest of the world.
“We aim to break the stigma around mental health, talking about your personal experiences can be difficult for people but we are here to support people in comfortably removing the mask.”
Where to get help if you’re struggling
You don’t have to suffer in silence if you’re struggling with your mental health. Here are some groups you can contact when you need help.
Samaritans: Phone 116 123, 24 hours a day, or email firstname.lastname@example.org, in confidence
Childline: Phone 0800 1111. Calls are free and won’t show up on your bill
Platform 1 men’s community group: Support for issues including mental health problems and addiction recovery. Visit the website or call 01484 421143.
Andy’s Man Club: email@example.com
PAPYRUS: A voluntary organisation supporting suicidal teens and young adults. Phone 0800 068 4141
Mind: A charity offering support and advice for people with mental health problems.
Students Against Depression: A website for students who are depressed, have low mood, or are suicidal. Click here to visit
Bullying UK: A website for both children and adults affected by bullying. Click here
Campaign Against Living Miserably (CALM): For young men who are feeling unhappy. There’s a website and a helpline: 0800 58 58 58
MindOut: Provide support and advice on mental health for members of LGBTQ communities. Phone 01273 234839
Unmasked started walk and talk groups in March this year to replace the peer groups that stopped as a result of lockdown.
“Our goal is simple – to remove the stigma surrounding mental ill health, nationwide, and get people talking,” they said.
The professional counselling sessions run every Thursday and Friday and are available to everyone age 16+. They are available at a first come, first serve basis and can be booked via the Unmasked Mental Health website here.