For many, dealing with day to day situations can be manageable but there are some people who need extra support. This is why the Talkbus was formed. The Talkbus is an outreach service for young people between 11-25 to offer information and guidance on any issue. Clinton Waller, a member of the Talkbus outreach team, explained that they ‘offer information and support on any issue the person might have’. At the Talkbus, they have an open policy where they are non-judgmental and even age groups can be extended as they aim not to send people away.

Publicising the Talkbus is important as the team want people to know that there is help available, Clinton spoke about how ‘national campaigns’ have a big impact on advertising the Talkbus. Not only this, but the Talkbus outreach team ‘go into schools and colleges to offer support.’ Clinton believes this is the best way to ‘show what we have to offer’ as some people may find it intimidating to visit the bus in the open streets. After visiting the schools the young adults know where the outreach team are normally located. Clinton was delighted to say that over the time the talk bus has been in Croydon, they have seen a rise in the number of visitors. This may be due to the new signage on the bus and people becoming more aware and familiar of the organisation.

The Talkbus is a place to talk about any of your concerns, Clinton states that ‘young people could come in with any questions from friendship and family issues to mental health and sexuality. ‘We are open to support them, if we can't support them we sign post them to other places,’ he states. He also highlights how the Talkbus ‘is a safe and confidential place to sit and chill out discussing issues that affect you’.

Each person has a unique situation so there are many different types of support available. Clinton explains that ‘it is up to young people to talk to us and then we can offer the correct guidance and support…familiarity is also an important part to the therapy’. He goes on to say that ‘an essential part of the Talkbus services is that they are not judgemental and don't push anything... its just young people off loading any issues’. The Talkbus work alongside Croydon Drop In (CDI), which focuses on different types of therapy including hypnotherapy and cognitive behaviour therapy.  

In England, 1 in 6 people report experiencing a common mental health problem (such as anxiety and depression) in any given week. When the topic of mental health was bought up in the interview, Clinton explained how he thought that ‘People are under a lot more pressure from schools and peers which can lead to issues… tied into this, not all schools have the capacity to take care of mental health issues so young adults are left alone and issues can spiral out of control leading to people being in a bad state. Cut backs in mental health services mean that young people don't get the help they need until they're at crisis point which is a real worry’.  

Many of the counsellors at the Talkbus believe that bringing back youth clubs and having more positive activities and clubs at school can reduce the stress and issues that many young adults deal with today. Clinton went on to state how the Talkbus would like ‘access to all schools including primary schools’ and most importantly ‘long term funding as continuity and longevity is vital because you build relationships with the visitors’.

The Talkbus has been proven to be a very successful place for young adults to visit and address their problems. Clinton highlights that ‘knowing there is a safe space with adults that can support them and not judge them is probably the best thing people can get out of the Talkbus...many people have confusions and difficulties so it’s a good place to feel that people care and listen to you’.

Clinton and the counsellors from the Talkbus wanted to put the message out there that ‘the Talkbus is for all young people, it's your service and even though it's our slogan we really do mean that. We want people to know that there is help and young people can use it. No matter how difficult life can seem, we will try to help in any possible way’.

Should you wish to speak to Clinton or any of the outreach team the Talkbus is outside the Croydon Whitgift centre every Thursday from 3 – 6 p.m.

By Caitlin Perry, Croydon High School