Mental health project to stop families falling into crisis

Cottage Centre, Kirkcaldy
Cottage Centre, Kirkcaldy

One simple, but powerful, message underpins everything the Cottage Family Centre does.

It shows people that someone out there does care.

Cottage Centre, Kirkcaldy

Cottage Centre, Kirkcaldy

And they care enough to offer whatever help is needed.

For people living in isolation, struggling to cope, sick with worry over how to feed their family and keep them warm, that is a precious lifeline.

And it is one that extends far beyond food parcels.

The centre’s new mental health project underlines its growing role in our community. It is aimed directly at adolescents who currently have to wait more than nine months to get the support they need from Children’s Mental Health because of growing waiting lists.

Gordon Brown on being made patron of the Cottage Centre, Kirkcaldy (Pic: FFP)

Gordon Brown on being made patron of the Cottage Centre, Kirkcaldy (Pic: FFP)

With its £100,000 fundraising campaign set to hit its target, the Cottage Centre is now able to launch two new projects.

One to support grandparents and carers will be unveiled in October, but the first one is now ready to roll - and it will offer immediate mental health support to families before they fall into crisis.

Early intervention, through a detailed programme set up in conjunction with Raw Anatomy Transformation Centre in Glenrothes, is the key to avoiding problems at school, the loss of important friendships as young people become more isolated, and increased pressure on families struggling to cope.

The gym brings physical well being into the picture, and a targeted, intense programme will provide the mental health support that is desperately needed in that long gap waiting on appointments.

Parents and carers will also be offered a weekly programme of parent support groups and regular visits from a family therapeutic worker.

The aim is to give them the support they need, and give them a voice too - to let them discuss any mental health issues they may be facing.

Marilyn Livingstone, chairman of the board at the centre said: “We know early intervention is crucial. Increasing demand means a wait of nine months for appointments, and we know the deterioration that can happen in that time.

“If we get involved, we can prevent families falling into crisis.”

Gordon Brown, who was made patron of the centre this week, also spoke of the impact the Cottage has had through its appeals and projects.

“Many, many people out there think no-one cares, no-one is doing anything and they feel utterly isolated as they try to cope bringing up families

“When you meet them after coming to the Cottage, they know that someone cares. That’s the most important thing,’’ he said.

“If you can send a message that someone cares then you are directly helping them - and not just through a donation of toys at Christmas, but by helping them gain the confidence to make the best of their lives.’’

Mr Brown launched the £100,000 fundraising campaign last year and returned to the centre - which he has supported over the past 20 years - on Monday to announce it had reached its target thanks to a host of donations, including one of £25,000.

Stage two is to generate a further £100,000 in a new appeal to allow the Cottage to do even more work in the community.

“We need the money to come in quickly,” said Mr Brown. “We see services at breaking point, and mental health is one area under huge pressure.”