MP and Secretary of State for Work and Pensions Mel Stride dropped in for a visit at Tor Support Services last week to discuss the work it does to support young people between five and 25. Dependent on grants and donations, their counselling services are free and confidential.

Mr Stride met with Dr Kathryn Vile, Dr Emma Sircar, officer manager Nicola Frost and treasurer Tony Barker last Friday (October 6) to hear how the counselling organisation is working to help young people deal with a range of mental health issues, including anxiety and depression, suicidal ideation, self-harm, bereavement, social anxiety, addiction, behavioural problems, eating disorders, gender dysphoria and those suffering abuse or neglect.

During the past year Tor Support Services has helped 235 young people, taking the total number it has helped to more than 2,000.

Dr Vile said: “It was very useful to welcome Mel and discuss the vital work we do supporting local young people, some of whom are at crisis point. We were keen to emphasise our constant struggle to raise sufficient funds to retain our level of provision. Without us, many of our clients would not be able to access counselling.”

Mr Stride added: “We are lucky to have such a fantastic service supporting so many young people in and around Okehampton. The majority of long-term mental health problems can be traced back to a young age so early support makes a massive difference. I will certainly support their fundraising efforts in any way I can.”

On October 27, local resident James Rowley will be doing a 24 hour treadmillathon to raise funds for Tor Support. Read more about James's challenge here.