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November 13, 2012

Kildare Youth Services Counselling Service 2011 Annual Report

KYS-Counselling Service Annual Report Kildare Youth Services Counselling Service has just issued its 2011 Annual Report and emphasises that  key to the longevity and utility of the KYS Counselling Service is the fact that it is a donation based, community youth service staffed by qualified and registered counsellors and volunteer counsellors, and offering a youth friendly and accessible environment for young people.  Crucially, strong links exist to referral agents throughout the targeted communities.

Download the Report here

2011 was a very active year for the counselling service.  The service continued to work in a multi-agency way with other local service providers across the county, and strengthened its involvement in initiatives such as the North Kildare Mental Health Strategy.

In the planning and delivery of a youth counselling service, research has an important role to play, particulary when aiming at the delivery of high-quality counselling services that is challenged to meet the needs of the community in times of financial and budget constraints. The KYS Counselling service engaged in a number of research initiatives in 2011, amongst them playing a central role in a study conducted by  the University of Ulster on behalf of the Health Research Board, titled  ‘Investigation into the needs and issues of youth counselling in Ireland’, a  study into young people’s experience of and utility of counselling services on the Island of Ireland.

The KYS Counselling service was unique in its representation of a counselling service in the Republic. The KYS Counselling service conducted its own research into service users' experience of the service,  as well as parents and guardians experience of participation in the facilitated Step Teen Parenting Courses, and changes they incurred through that participation.

Results were positive all around. Young people’s experience of Self Harm and the importance of Self Care as its combatant led to the 2011 Counselling Service’s production of a Take 5 publication entitled ‘Self Care can Prevent Self Harm’. The Take 5 edition, distributed in workshops and courses, schools, GP surgeries, Garda Stations, libraries and HSE services etc., was aimed at offering a psycho-educational approach to young people, to explore attitudes and involvement in Self  Harming behaviour, and indicate clear ways of moving away from this behaviour. As Eilis Hayes, Researcher, Trinity College Dublin,  in her current study   ‘An Exploration of the Lives of Adolescents (aged 12-18yrs) who self harm’ reports;

“Self harm is one of the most complex problems facing adolescents and one of the least understood by service providers. The incidence of self harm in Ireland has been rising. Highest rates are reported in adolescents and young people compared to other age groups with 2,000 presentations to hospital in 2009 (NSRF, 2009)”

The KYS Counselling Service played a contributory role in this important study in 2011.
Providing workshops and stands into schools and other public institutions on a variety of peer issues such as bullying, respect, self esteem, coping with bereavement, healthy lifestyle and mental health resulted in collaboration with primary and secondary schools across the region. In total, the Service received 1681  telephone calls into the service, a replica number of calls as 2010. However 10% of these calls were crisis calls , up 3% on 2010 figures. Onward referrals to crisis intervention services (such as Pieta House, GP,  HSE CAMHS) at 40% and also the addiction specialist services (HALO; ARAS) at 23% accounted for the highest percentage of onward referrals from the counselling service. One in ten onward referrals resulted from the desire by a referrer for a young person to be seen immediately for counselling sessions.  

In 2011 the Counselling Service received 297 referrals into the service, with a 108% increase in referrals into the Newbridge list from 2010. In 2011 50% of the referral base came from Mid county (into Naas and Newbridge lists), with 33% in the North (into Leixlip and Celbridge lists) and 17% from South of the County (into Kildare town and Athy).  49% of the referral base came from parents and guardians (an increased of 5% on the previous year) and added together with the 16% of referrals coming from young people themselves , two thirds of referrals come directly from the community,  demonstrating the continued and central embededness of the Service amongst the communities of Kildare County.  A high number of referrals continued to be received from the Social Work department (14%) and 7% came from the health and mental health services. 245 young people were newly assessed in the service in 2011, a 13% increase on 2010 figures.

2011 saw the very successful facilitation of four parenting courses in the county through the year (Naas, Athy, Celbridge and The Curragh).   91 parents and guardians were offered places on the courses and the course continues to create self facilitating groups across the country who, upon completion of the 8 week course, meet as a support network.