The Isle of Wight Youth Trust has today (Tuesday) announced it is expanding its services to include group work, to tackle increasing demand for its one-to-one counselling service.

More than 1,000 young people contacted the trust for support last year, with many requiring longer-term support for complex emotional difficulties.

Trust chief executive Mairead Healy said: "Early intervention is vital and we want to make sure our young Islanders can access support as quickly as possible to achieve the best mental health outcomes.

"This has been the driving factor in setting up our new group programmes.

"We are currently running four group sessions each week, and have received overwhelmingly positive feedback so far.

"Based on the success of these groups, group work is becoming part of our core offer as we look at new ways to best support young Islanders.”

Following feedback from the young people who use its services over the past six month, the trust has changed the way it works.

It has moved away from its six-session model and now offers a more flexible and individualised approach to counselling.

Mairead said: "We prepared for the changes by moving to a new premises, which is four-and-a-half times the size of our previous headquarters, and have taken on more counsellors to try and keep up with growing demand.

"Despite our best efforts, the new clinical model has meant that counselling appointments do not become available as often and this, paired with a steep increase in demand has seen our waiting list increase.

“In expanding our services, we hope young people can see that we are listening, we are responding, and we are working hard to get them the support they need and deserve.

"This is an ongoing challenge, but a challenge we meet with enthusiasm.”