Off the Record Bristol (OTR) provides mental health support and information to young people (aged 11-25) across Bristol and South Gloucestershire. The organisation has been a registered charity since 1965, and now supports over 5,000 young people each year.
OTR’s services are free, confidential and self-referral; providing a variety of support projects to combat mental and emotional health needs such as depression, anxiety, self-harm, OCD, abuse, eating disorders, family breakdown and substance abuse.
- One-to-one counselling; an open and non-judgemental atmosphere for a young person to discuss their feelings and issues. These sessions are run throughout Bristol, including in outreach centres in schools and colleges.
- ‘Freedom’ – an LGBTQ project directed towards young people questioning their sexuality and/or gender: weekly group sessions, one-to-one support and campaigning projects around LGBTQ rights.
- ‘Zazi’ – a project targeted towards BME communities, specifically young black men and women. Black men are disproportionately represented amongst mental health services as adults, with Zazi OTR aims to act as an early intervention providing various groups, including a weekly boxing group for young men wanting to express themselves physically but in a safe environment.
- ‘Inspiration Works’ – creative therapeutic sessions including art therapy, self harm support, creative writing groups and drama therapy.
- ‘Resilience Lab’ – a psycho-educational stress management workshop, teaching young people techniques about how to cope with stress and spot mental health problems.
- ‘Mentality’ – an award-winning young person led campaigning project aiming to reduce the stigma around mental health with positive and proactive public messaging.
OTR also provides specialist support such as CBT (cognitive behavioural therapy), workshops on reducing self-harm (‘Harm/Less’), computer-based counselling, mindfulness groups, and links to online resources via its website, otrbristol.org.uk.
OTR provides training to professionals on a range of topics in supporting the emotional wellbeing of young people.
Quotes from young people who have come to OTR include the following:
“Coming to OTR has given me the opportunity to talk about what distressed me and try to break it down in bits and make it better. It is nice to talk to somebody who is not part of your life and receive advice from the outside”.
“The staff here have been incredible, making me feel comfortable and at ease. I think they’ve probably saved my life/health and I can’t thank OTR enough”.
“Thank you for helping me through my cloud of worry and providing me with the tools for clarity and awesomeness”.