Meet the Sunderland counsellor hoping to save lives by offering free sessions for those on NHS waiting lists

With waiting lists becoming longer and private counselling being a great expense to some, a private counsellor is hoping to raise as much money as possible to offer free counselling to those who need it most in Sunderland.

Wednesday, 28th August 2019, 10:02 am
Updated Tuesday, 3rd September 2019, 13:29 pm
Simone hopes people will join in helping her raise the money needed

Simone Robson-Maginnis, is trying to spread the importance of her fundraising which is hoped to help those in Sunderland suffering with mental health issues.

In her office based in Washington, she offers face-to-face counselling to people across the North East along with online and telephone sessions.

Simone believes that a counsellor saved her life in the past which is why she chose to take on this role.

Simone Robson-Maginnis is fundraising to offer free counselling in Sunderland

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She has noticed the importance of counselling in Sunderland recently. She said: “Based solely on my own business in 2019 alone, I have seen an increase in people contacting me about their mental health.

“Most of those people are students, children and teens.

“I have had a significant amount of people contact me with thoughts of suicide and saying they can't wait for NHS help.

“I think the fact that schools are starting to talk openly to children about mental well-being is encouraging them to ask for help.”

At the moment, NHS waiting lists for counselling sessions are around 4-6 months long and private counselling costs around £30 per hour. The money raised will pay for sessions and materials needed so clients could see a counsellor sooner, for free.

Simone said: “Every donation has the potential to save a life. There’s a lot of people who are going without counselling and get really low by the time they do receive help.”

“I am hoping this will take that burden and stress off someone who is going through so much already.”

Simone is also going to start selling handmade crafts to raise more funds. A goal of £2,000 has been set which would fund around 66 sessions. To donate search for ‘Weʼre raising £2,000 to offer Free Counselling to those who need it’ on Just Giving.

In the mean time, Simone passes on crisis numbers and shares daily tips and support on social media. To speak to Samaritans call 116 123 24 hours, seven days a week.