How a new mental health drop-in service is set to support South Tyneside's LGBTQ+ community
A new mental health drop-in service will be dedicated to supporting members of the LGBTQ+ community in the borough.
South Shields couple James Angus and Daniel Adams set up their mental health text service Text Relief last year, after losing a school friend to suicide.
Now they are expanding to help more people going through a difficult time in the borough.
The Xpressions drop-in centre, which will be based at Chuter Ede Community Centre on Galsworthy Road, is aimed at supporting young adults who identify as LGBTQ+ and are experiencing mental health issues or need someone to talk to.
But the service – which is due to start operating in October – will be open to anyone, with qualified team members able to provide support for a range of needs from victims of domestic violence to those with autism or learning difficulties.
"It’s open to everyone but particularly those who are LGBTQ+ as we feel the community isn’t recognised in this area,” said James, 32.
“When you’re young and at school and having these kinds of feelings it’s nice to have someone to talk to who knows what you’re going through.
"There really isn’t anything for people who are going through this in South Tyneside.”
James, who is originally from Washington, speaks from personal experience.
He was diagnosed with bipolar disorder when he was 18-years-old and Daniel, 28, is now classed as his full time carer.
Their anonymous text service, Text Relief has had a huge response since it launched, with a team of volunteers which include mental health nurses, support workers, psychology students and people who have family and friends with mental health issues.
James says they have seen a surge in people getting in touch since the coronavirus pandemic hit this year.
He added: "The text service is going really well and providing a vital service but some people prefer to have that face to face contact – the two are going to work side by side.”
For more information and support visit the Xpressions Facebook page.