ONE hundred local young people who have suffered during the pandemic will get expert help after a local counselling charity received a vital five-figure cash boost.

Mind Mosaic Child & Family Therapies has benefited from a £37,000 grant from Children in Need as it works to assist struggling youngsters up to the age of 18.

This grant will ensure that 96 children and young people who haven't accessed services before, such as cognitive behavioural therapy and play therapy, can be helped in overcoming their anxieties and worries.

The boost has allowed Mind Mosaic chief executive Sandra Boyle to hire two new part-time therapists as well as an admin worker to be based in their Ladyburn Business Centre premises in Greenock.

She says the volume of referrals received as a result of the pandemic has been staggering.

Sandra told the Tele: "It's been astronomical the impact the coronavirus pandemic has had on the mental health of children and young people.

"There has been a huge increase in anxiety, more people are suffering from low moods and some even are struggling with suicidal thoughts.

"We realised the extent of the issue after we launched our freephone helpline that was funded by the Corra Foundation.

"We were absolutely inundated with calls from people who were tacking isolation, bereavement and change.

"This funding will hopefully allow us to see some of those individuals we supported through the helpline."

As public health restrictions continue and with the increased number of face-to-face therapy sessions, Sandra and her team have had to introduce safety measures throughout the therapy rooms.

She said: "We've introduced sneeze screens in each one and every single thing is sanitised between sessions.

"There are staggered times of when therapy sessions occur, we've got a track and trace system and there are hand sanitising points throughout the building.

"We're well aware of the pandemic and have taken all the measures necessary to ensure we keep everyone safe.

"We're also very aware of the mental health pandemic and how our services are essential now, perhaps more than ever, to local young people."