Picture of Ronan Ferris

Ronan Ferris

Communications Assistant

Marking 15 years of the Edinburgh Crisis Centre

On Monday 5th December I eagerly made my way to the Edinburgh Crisis Centre’s 15th Anniversary event, hosted in the Ukrainian Community Centre.

I was unsure of what to expect from the day, but my nerves and uncertainty soon subsided when I saw it was to be a joyous day of celebration and importantly, acknowledgment. Acknowledgment not only of the centre’s achievement and work but of our terrific staff.

With a warm welcome from Barrie and Nick, Senior Service Manager and Service Manager respectively, the event’s proceedings kicked off as Nick introduced a short promotional video of the centre, illustrating its spacious living room which doubles as a social area for guests, a kitchen, wet room, peaceful garden, and comfortable resting rooms right in the heart of Edinburgh.

Cake celebrating 15 years of the Edinburgh Crisis Centre
Image showing Edinburgh Crisis Centre staff engaging in team building activities

I was struck by the team’s dedication and sincere devotion to their work and the people they support 

A particularly memorable moment saw volunteer Penny receiving an accolade for her outstanding contribution to the centre. There were smiles and laughs all around as Penny described her time at ECC teaching yoga – rapturous applause echoed as she accepted her award.

The foundations for what would become the Edinburgh Crisis Centre informally began in 2007 when, after the publication of various papers and studies looking into mental health services in the city, it was found there was a need for a dedicated 24-hour centre. In 2009, the doors officially opened and since then, have been able to offer overnight stays.

There wasn’t a dry eye in the room as we watched a special message from Nicole, describing her struggles with mental ill health and subsequent path to recovery. Nicole was visibly emotional albeit ecstatic to be sharing her story with us and happy to let us know that today, she is a published poet and nutritional coach, laughing she joked that her books don’t sell very well but she’s proud nonetheless (you can check out Nicole’s book here).

Team building activities at Edinburgh Crisis Centre's 15th anniversary event

As afternoon approached, we broke for lunch, and I had the opportunity to chat with some of the team. I was struck by their dedication and sincere devotion to their work and to the people they support – Penumbra and ECC invest in their team, equipping them with the skills to grow and thrive.

Splitting into small teams, we pondered the future of the Edinburgh Crisis Centre in a post-COVID world, questioning the accessibility of the service and in what ways it could be improved. Our thoughts were unanimous, whilst the developments in technology are increasingly beneficial when it comes to our text and phone services – there’s nothing quite like face-to-face contact.

After hearing from a variety of speakers and engaging in group activities, it was time for reflection and as Nick and Barrie cut into the celebratory cake marking 15 years of the Edinburgh Crisis Centre, we gathered for a photo. Here’s to another 15 years.

Thanks to the team of staff and volunteers who made this a very special event and thank you to you, the reader for joining us on this commemorative journey.

The Edinburgh Crisis Centre is for people aged 16+ in Edinburgh experiencing thoughts of suicide or feelings of distress and overwhelm. Your call is free and confidential, and you don’t have to fill out any referral forms.

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