8th Dec, 2016

Solihull children pushed to breaking point, creating drug and self-harm issues claims counsellor

Solihull Editorial 20th Jan, 2016 Updated: 21st Oct, 2016

SOLIHULL children are under more pressure than ever before and are being pushed to breaking point, leading to self-harm, eating disorders and drugs.

That is the claim of one borough counsellor who says something must be done before it spirals out of control.

Lisa Houston works with young people dealing with bereavement, not just through death but through other means like divorce.

She works privately, in schools and even with charities to help young people deal with loss.

She said since arriving in Solihull she had been overwhelmed and shocked by the amount of parents and guardians seeking help on behalf of their youngsters who were just not coping.

Ms Houston claimed she had seen a massive rise in the amount of children needing help.

Speaking exclusively to The Observer she said: “I’m shocked at how many girls have eating disorders, self-harming issues and depression. So do the boys, they don’t tend to self-harm as much but drugs are a huge issue.

“There are not enough counsellors for children unless they have severe circumstances.

“A lot of the time they just want someone to get down to their level and understand.”

She added divorce was a massive problem as it was not just a family break down, but that children had to pick sides and there were also financial issues.

“Most parents do not put their children first because they are hurting,” she said.

“I don’t think there is a lot of awareness – there is just little help.

“They are expected to just get on with it – people say ‘children are resilient, they will just get on with it and they will be fine, don’t worry about them’ but some kids can’t handle it and their way of taking control is by self-harming or by controlling what they eat.”

Ms Houston said she would like Solihull schools to take note and think about what they could do to help.

She added she also wanted to see children getting easier access to someone who they could talk to confidentially, to address their problems early.

She said: “I think it is really sad schools do not have the facilities to spend more time with children, understanding their real needs.”

Coun Ken Meeson, who is responsible for health and wellbeing, said it was an issue nationally and the council were working hard in Solihull with a number of organisations to address it.

He added there was currently an active and effective support service in the borough, affiliated to the Child Bereavement Council and their recently launched emotional wellbeing and mental health service Solar.

“We also work very closely with schools around what services they can offer,” Coun Meeson added.

Anybody wanting anymore advise and information Lisa Houston at Pure Couselling on 07518 883 402.

Visit www.bsmhft.nhs.uk/our-services/solar for more on the new service Solar.