Mental health agency for young people faces closure after funding cut

An Edinburgh-based mental health organisation in Craigmillar says it is hanging on by a thread after losing funding.

An Edinburgh mental health agency supporting children and young people is facing closure after losing council funding earlier this year. 

Let’s Talk, based in Craigmillar, provides mental and sexual health support to young people aged between 11 and 26.

The non-profit organisation was launched around two years ago by Dr Niki Powers, due to a lack of mental health services for children in the area.

Chris Fischer joined ‘Let’s Talk’ last year after battling with mental health and has now learned to cope with their anxiety through music.

Chris Fischer has been going to 'Let's Talk' for around a year. STV News

The 12-year-old said: “I was really struggling – I was struggling with anxiety, obsessive compulsive disorder, and many other mental health problems.

“I was absolutely devastated when I heard that Let’s Talk was closing and I was honestly crying for ages.”

Chris is now facing a two-year waiting list for mental health support if the service closes.

“It’s really sad and stressful because I really do need help with my mental health and two years just isn’t great,” Chris said.

“I need help sooner than that.”

Dr Powers said the organisation is currently hanging on by a thread as it looks to secure funding elsewhere.

Let's Talk founder Dr Niki Powers.STV News

She said: “Young people had actually told us that our service had actually saved their lives – that’s the kind of long and short of it.

“At the moment we’re continuing to support young people who were coming for therapeutic services because I feel we have a duty of care but we don’t have any funding for that so I don’t know how long that can go on for.

“We are hanging by a thread at the moment and we’re doing everything we can.

“So, we have a crowdfunding campaign, we’re applying for more funds – but really we’re in a desperate situation now and realistically there’s a very big chance that we’re going to have to close.”

A spokesperson for Edinburgh City Council said: “Concerns over their financial position and the delivery of services meant a decision was taken not to renew.

“We’re continuing to ensure counselling services are provided to children in need in the north east of the city and plans are in place so these particular community mental health funds are effectively redirected to deliver alternative supports.”

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