A NEW counselling service has opened its doors in Romsey town centre.

Be Well Counselling, run by Mark Richardson, opened the doors of its new office in The Hundred in February.

The 51-year-old, who moved to Romsey five years ago, started the counselling business six months ago, originally operating out of his home and conducting online therapy sessions.

Hampshire Chronicle: Mental health counsellor Mark RichardsonMental health counsellor Mark Richardson (Image: Mark Richardson)

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He told the Advertiser that opening his new office has made him feel a real part of the community.

Mark said: “To have a distinct space to work from is really helpful, and the fact that it is central is great for people who want to make use of my services, as there is good parking and bus routes to the town centre.

“It is also good to have this space to decorate and make district and give it good vibes. If someone is going to be spending an hour or so talking about the things that are on their mind, it is good if they have a nice, friendly space to do it.

He continued: “There is a lot of mental health provision in Romsey, but it is quite under the radar. I think what I am doing is raising awareness of mental health services by having a sign pointing out the business to passersby and letting them know we are here.

“I think we need to make these services easy to find.

“Male councillors are a minority in the business, and a lot of men are still unwilling to access mental health services. There are still a lot of stereotypes about ‘Men don’t cry’, and I think it is important that men know and feel that there are services there for them.”

Hampshire Chronicle: The counselling roomThe counselling room (Image: Mark Richardson)

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Mark trained at the University of Portsmouth, where he studied humanist and gestalt counselling.

He explained: “Humanist counselling is a principle counselling where we examine how people feel in totality. And this includes how they physically feel and how they are physically affected by their emotions.

“Gestalt is a German word which does not have a direct English translation, and is about the here and now, and how you can’t control the future or the past.”

More information about Be Well Counselling can be found on its website.