A north-east mental health charity is hoping to offer children a listening ear, to prevent them developing more serious problems as they grow up.
Y Suffer in Silence, which is based in Fraserburgh, was launched two years ago to help people suffering from anxiety, depression and stress.
As well as offering one-to-one support, the charity also operates a helpline, and it is now aiming to assist people under the age of 16.
Group founder, Paul Greenall, said: “Offering this sort of service would allow us to take the work that we do up a peg.
“We’ve been approached by parents before regarding this, and it’s so important that children between 13 and 16 years old are able to get proper emotional support.
“It can be difficult for teenagers to get support because they’re not children, but they’re not adults either.
“If they don’t get the support they need in time, by the time they’re 18 or 19 they’re still suffering from something that could have been nipped in the bud much sooner.”
Mr Greenhall added that depression and anxiety can often affect young people.
He said: “It’s easy for people to push feelings aside, but when we do that the problems never really go away.”
“Something like grief or a relationship breakdown can cause a flood of emotions further down the line and, when it gets to that stage, it’s difficult to pinpoint what caused these feelings.
“If there had been a conversation sooner for them to get their feelings out, it might not have escalated.”
The charity’s board of trustees recently voted in favour of extending the service to the area’s young people and members will now put the idea to the community.
In the next few weeks, surveys and a petition will be launched for people to have their say. The survey will be distributed in selected areas and will be accessible online.
The questionnaires will be put out for 60 days and as many people as possible are encouraged to participate to get a “broader picture” of the community’s thoughts on the matter.
Once the findings have been collected, there will be two public meetings for residents to ask questions or raise any concerns.
The charity will also be looking for volunteers to act in a supporting role, or to help with fundraising. For more information, people can contact Info1@ysufferinsilence.org.uk