A new centre to help young people struggling with self harm and sexual and domestic violence has opened in Merton.

The WISH Centre, which has previously only been based in Harrow, held its official opening at Peel House in Morden on Thursday, December 3.

MP for Mitcham and Morden, Siobhain McDonagh, attended the opening, and expressed her support for the service.

She said: “This centre supports about 200 young people each year, changing lives.

“I’m absolutely delighted this support will now be available in Merton.”

The WISH Centre receives funding from Comic Relief, and offers both peer support groups and one-to-one counselling for young people.

Director of WISH, Rowena Jaber, said: “About 90 per cent of the young people who come to us have stopped self harming within a year.

“We get really involved with them, understand them, and get them to want to stop.

Wimbledon Times:

Two women who used to attend the peer support group gave speeches thanking WISH for "saving my life on more than one occasion"

“Sometimes people come because of stuff at home, or their families have broken down. Sometimes it’s a case of bullying, or rape. Increasingly we’re seeing girls come to us who have been affected by sexual assault, grooming and sexting.

“If anyone thinks they want support, but they’re not sure, just text us first and then we can meet, and when you trust us we can talk about the support we can give you.”

Rates of self harm in both young men and women are on the increase, with recent statistics suggesting as many as 20 per cent of young people have self harmed at some point, and 50 per cent of those doing it in secret.

Psychotherapist at WISH, Gary Daines, said: “We focus on how long a person needs help for. We have the flexibility to work with people on a long term basis.

“We want to reach as many people as we can. When you see someone who is maybe suicidal or self harming start to see that they don’t have to feel that way, and you’re a part of helping them, it’s amazing.”

For more information about the WISH Centre, visit: http://thewishcentre.org.uk/