My favourite mug, by Claire Power-Browne
Claire is Co-Leader of Teens in Crisis + (TIC+), a faith-based, Gloucestershire-based charity offering free counselling and mental health support to children and young people aged 9-21.
Last year the charity supported over 3,000 children in Gloucestershire alone, as well as supporting parents and carers.
“I am the Director of Operations at TIC+, which means I oversee everything which is non-clinical in the organisation. I also drink a lot of tea!
“TIC+ really is a very special place to work and lead. I can honestly say I have never worked anywhere that has the same ‘feel ‘ as TIC+ and I am so blessed to work here. When I applied to TIC+ I was looking to work for a faith-based organisation, but it was important to me that it was an organisation that was also ‘open’. TIC+ is founded on Christian principles; we provide services to anyone of any faith (or none), and we employ staff from any faith (or none). As an organisation, we believe that the Christian faith provides the foundation and motivation for the work of the charity and is the reason why we do what we do. For me, it has felt like being planted and rooted. I still sometimes cannot believe my good fortune in working here.
“The team at TIC+ are all exceptional. From our referral team who answer every call with care and compassion, to our counsellors who ensure children and young people feel heard, right through to Sam who compiles our statistics for completed counselling – every person cares about the young people who come to us and makes sure that every part of the service is designed in the best possible way for them.
“The last two years have been especially hard on children and young people; they have had to carry a burden that in very many cases they are too young to shoulder. They have been left feeling anxious, isolated, and uncertain. At TIC+ we have seen a huge rise in the number of young people who present to us as high risk’ compared to previously.
“We have seen a rise in intrusive thoughts, self-harm, compulsive behaviours and suicidal thoughts. The demand has risen and risen and continues to rise.
“Through all of this, our staff, our wonderful, compassionate, and caring team has continued to be there for young people. The team has stood by them and supported them at a time when many children have felt terrifyingly alone.
One counsellor expressed it beautifully when she said her job was “to hold hope for a young person until they felt able to hold it for themselves”.
“Our weekly prayers have been a time to focus on praying for the safety of the young people and children we see, the wellbeing of our team and their families, for those who have been affected by Covid, for those who have been bereaved. We have also prayed for wisdom to help us lead our team through these unknown times and for our trustees who hold such a weight of responsibility. We have seen real answers to prayer and are so grateful for God’s provision and His hand over us and the young people we see.
“TIC+ is built almost entirely on the strength of relationships; with each other, with the children and young people we serve, with those we work with. We value this so deeply and strive to ensure that these relationships mirror those we establish with the young people; open, honest, compassionate, and non-judgemental.
“When we meet in the office, it is very often with tea in hand, made by whoever is around. This is symbolic in so many ways of our relationship-focused way of working; to meet, to share, to listen. One of the goals of TIC+ is ‘to give every young person in need someone to talk to when they need it most’. For many of our young people, being heard is the single most powerful thing that can happen to them. David Augsburger says, “Being heard is so close to being loved that for the average person, they are almost indistinguishable.” At TIC+, we are able to provide a safe, non-judgemental space for children and young people to talk about the things that worry them.
“As I sit and write this, I am looking at a mug produced by our fundraising team. It is covered in words written by young people after they have finished counselling and expresses what they found most helpful, ‘I could talk freely’, ‘ It helped me overcome my struggles’, ‘It helped me feel positive about myself’, ‘Safe space’. Out of all the work we do, this is what young people find most significant- the relationship they are able to make with their counsellor and the way they feel heard
“At TIC+ we believe that our work is an outpouring of our faith; faith in action, in words and in deeds and that starts with compassion, acceptance and openness. My mug is a precious reminder of the impact being heard can have on a young person. It’s also a great mug.”