AN UNPRECEDENTED number of young people have sought counselling from a charity because they are struggling to cope with daily life.
Off The Record, which has centres in Fratton and Leigh Park, is reporting a record number of calls and visits by young people who are depressed.
Volunteers are being asked to put in extra time to cope with the surge in demand.
The chief executive of the charity, Theresa Wade, told The News that lack of opportunities for young people was the main reason for the increase in calls.
She said: ‘Over the last few months we have been seeing 123 clients every week making contact with us.
‘It’s a phenomenal number for us.
‘Of those 47 are new clients every week.
‘If it was not for Off The Record, who would they turn to?
‘A lot of them feel there is no hope for the future.
‘The current economic climate is not great. There are no good jobs.
‘Almost everyone who gets in contact has low self-esteem and low self-confidence.
‘We have got a heavy waiting list at the moment. We are working our way through it.
‘Volunteers are offering extra time to get through it.’
Because of the demand, the charity’s helplines stayed open throughout Christmas and New Year.
The charity caters for those aged 11 to 25.
Mrs Wade said: ‘Relationships continue to be the number one problem – that could be relationships with home, family, with peers, with school.
‘Underlying this we are seeing an increasing number of young people who have no self-esteem. They can’t see what prospects they have got.’
The figures from Off The Record come as The Prince’s Trust reported that one in 10 young people feel they cannot cope with day-to-day life.
However, Mrs Wade added: ‘With the right help at the right time, we can really turn that round.
‘We can help them look at their options, help with low self-esteem. It’s just about a bit of reassurance that there’s somebody who cares.’
National figures show that, excluding full-time students, there are 626,000 unemployed 16 to 24-year-olds.
Young people can call Off The Record on (023) 9281 5322 for the Portsmouth centre or (023) 9247 4724 for the Havant service. Alternatively call 0808 8010 724. They can email firstname.lastname@example.org.