Crisis Counselling


To provide early , accessible  services to those  in our community who are disadvantaged in access to appropriate therapeutic support.


Main activities

Founder Jean Cummings set up Crisis after witnessing a lack of support, guidance and counselling available during her time working within the NHS.

Over 20 years later, Crisis operates as an early intervention service which works across all communities. There is a strong focus on preventative care at Crisis, although the team also respond to clients presenting acute trauma and emergency support requirements on a daily basis.

Crisis’ aim is to reduce suicide and self-harm, reduce the risks associated with poor mental health and allow clients to make healthy life choices. A large part of Crisis’ work involves guiding clients through periods of transition, reconstituting family systems, and reintegrating clients into education, the workplace or the community.

Crisis averages around 1500 face-to-face referrals each year, 40% of which are children and young people. A large number of referrals also come from military veterans who have unresolved issues from their service, or those who are struggling to readapt to civilian life. Crisis also support migrants and asylum seekers who have experienced issues in their transition to life in Scotland, or who have perhaps experienced acute trauma before fleeing their home.

A corporate service is also available; Crisis’ Employee Assistance Programme can help provide significant benefits to the employer, including reduction in staff turnover, improved productivity and better staff morale.

“Our main client groups come through a variety of transitions: early years to primary school, primary school to secondary school, secondary to further education, through to employability,” Jean explains.

“Health transitions, life transitions, we also deal with a lot of end of life cases as well, where people have no family left and no one to discuss their wishes, or just to reflect on their past life. So we go through from cradle to grave, basically.”


Revenue Streams

Crisis’ enterprise activities ensure that it does not rely on grant funding for its regular income, instead using grants sporadically to fund specific projects.

Crisis has developed a number of service level agreements and other contracts with local authorities to deliver services in partnership with health and social care. These cover two main areas: private business, and other third sector bodies including social enterprises, housing associations, voluntary organisations and other charities.

It is the Employee Assistance Programme (EAP), however, that remains Crisis’ unique selling point. EAP’s are employee benefit programmes, designed to help employees deal with issues that might impact their work performance and their health and wellbeing.

Crisis’ first client for its EAP was Arriva Buses back in 2002, but it now boasts a client list which includes Lothian Buses, Edinburgh Trams, Kibble, Spark of Genius and a number of housing associations.

The EAP works on an annual retainer basis, with clients able to send referrals to Crisis, who will then determine what course of action to take, whether it be trauma counselling, cognitive behavioural therapy or visiting a psychologist. Crisis uses post graduate students from Glasgow Caledonian University to fill counselling placements, selecting students who have over 400 hours of counselling experience to work on its EAP.

“Our clients love it. They just have to fire the referral through and forget it. They pay us an annual retainer, they claim back whatever they can and it goes straight into our counselling services and into the community. It’s a win win,” says Jean.


Social Impact

Crisis has supported 840 young people in the last year alone, 7% of whom have attempted suicide. A further 37% have self-harmed before accessing services through Crisis, with many more at risk of developing severe to enduring mental health issues which could contribute to family breakdown and sustained exclusion. Over the same period, Crisis has supported 1100 adults who have presented themselves with complex needs, acute trauma, or prolonged duress.

By its 20th anniversary since opening in 1996, Crisis had supported over 40,000 clients face to face, mainly funded through its business model and the contribution of volunteers.

Fact File

Location: Erskine
Established: 1996
Workforce: 2 FT 2 volunteers (finance) 84 volunteer therapists
Turnover: £152,000
Legal Structure: Co. Ltd by Guarantee
Website: Visit Website
Twitter: @crisiscounsell
Facebook: View Profile