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September 19, 2005 12:00 PM

"You have survived; now it is time to Thrive"

NHS Greater Glasgow is today officially launching a pioneering service for men who have survived sexual abuse as children. Thrive is the first such service offered in an NHS sexual health setting in Scotland, providing counselling and therapy for adult men who were sexually abused when they were boys.

Based at NHS Greater Glasgow's innovative sexual health facility, the Sandyford Initiative, Thrive is staffed by a team of counsellors, who treat men who can come forward themselves or be referred by a GP or another professional. Counsellor and Project Co-ordinator Christine Steverson reports that many of their clients are seeking help for the first time, often after decades of isolation: "It's not uncommon for the men who come to Thrive to be opening up for the very first time. Many of our clients are telling someone for the first time that they have been abused, sometimes twenty or thirty years after it actually happened to them.

"Of course, suffering in silence brings other problems. Research suggests that many young men who are in Scotland's prisons or are homeless and living on our streets have been sexually abused as children. Many turn to drugs or drink to block out the pain, and some can even resort to self-harm or suicide."

Thrive is funded by Choose Life, the Scottish Executive's Suicide Prevention Strategy, and one of its main aims is to reduce the numbers of young men who are taking their own lives.  In 2004, almost three quarters of deaths in Scotland attributed to suicide were those of men. This is up 5.2% compared to the previous year, with the most noticeable increase among men aged 29-39.

The landmark project is officially opened today by Scotland's Deputy Health Minister Lewis Macdonald. He will be given a tour of the facilities and will meet with some of the men who have sought help from Thrive.

Deputy Minister for Health, Lewis Macdonald, said:

"I am looking forward to visiting the Thrive project to meet with staff and counsellors working there and also users of the service. Thrive offers an extremely valuable support to men who have experienced childhood sexual abuse.  The multi-disciplinary counselling and support services there help men to talk about the trauma they have been through and deal with these issues."

Thrive is one of a range of sexual health services offered by NHS Greater Glasgow at its cutting-edge Sandyford Initiative. Associate Director Dr Rosie Ilett believes it is a much-needed resource: "Thrive is an enormously valuable addition to our services here at Sandyford. Men are not often encouraged to open up and talk about their feelings and emotions, and that's something that's particularly important for men who've been sexually abused in childhood.

"We are very, very proud to be leading the way in supporting them and helping them come to terms with the horrors they suffered as children".


Notes for Editors

* It is anticipated that two clients of the Thrive service will be available for interview by print media under condition of anonymity.
* Suicide figures are sourced from the Registrar General for Scotland. In 2004 835 deaths were judged to be suicide or of undetermined intent. 609 of these were men.
* A photo opportunity will be available with the Deputy Health Minister and key members of staff from Thrive. Please assemble at reception at the Sandyford Initiative by 1420 on Monday 19th of September.

For more information contact Annalena Winslow at NHS Greater Glasgow Communications on 0141 201 4447.


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Last Updated: 06 February 2015