The Norfolk and Norwich Christian community website

Norfolk charity launches youth anxiety chat-line 

A new free live chat-line service launched by a Norfolk charity aims to improve support for young people struggling with anxiety about drugs and alcohol.

It offers the chance for teenagers between 13 and 19 to send questions anonymously via devices including a mobile phone, tablet or laptop, to an expert who will provide immediate help and advice.
Aimed at young people using substances or who are affected by someone else’s substance misuse, the new service is free and confidential and is available from 4pm until 7pm Monday to Thursday.
Funded and commissioned by Norfolk County Council, it is being run by drug and alcohol charity The Matthew Project’s Unity service.
Cllr Bill Borrett, cabinet member for Norfolk Public Health, said: “It is apt this new service is being launched during mental health awareness week when the focus is on anxiety.
“We know some young people struggling with anxiety may turn to drugs and alcohol as a coping mechanism, whilst others may be anxious about a friend or family member’s substance misuse.
“This new live chat service aims to provide support to reduce the number of young people suffering in silence, unsure how and where to get help. Specialists can offer advice and signpost them to the right help and support.”
Eve Hart, Unity practitioner manager, said: “For some young people getting support with their substance misuse can be a big step, having the option of talking anonymously via live chat could really help with this.
“Live chat provides young people with a way to reach out for help without having to actually talk to someone and without anyone knowing.”
The UK’s leading digital charity for under 25s The Mix reports one in three young people between 16 and 25 have used an illegal drug in the past 12 months, and one in five substance users now take drugs or alcohol as a coping mechanism to escape problems in their lives.
Find out more by emailing lea.denley@matthewproject.org or visit www.matthewprojectyoungpeople.org to find out more about the charity’s Unity service.
Picture by Marwan Ahmed on Unsplash.

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