• Fri. Aug 5th, 2022

Sexual abuse support group in Bristol helps survivors cope with the past

A women’s therapy center has started a friendship service for victims of sexual violence.

The Bristol-based Womankind Therapy Center is a local group that supports women with mental health issues, including those who have experienced sexual abuse.

Having received almost £ 200,000 in national lottery funding, the organization has been able to provide life-saving support to more women whose mental health has been worsened by the pandemic.

READ MORE: Hundreds of sexual assaults against women and girls reported in Bristol

A Bristol woman who does not wish to be named said the personalized friendship service had made ‘all the difference’ in her life and helped her see that she ‘could overcome anything’.

“Being able to get out of the house with her every week and walk in the park while I talk about my struggles literally saved my life.

“I am so happy to be on the verge of regaining some quality of life.”

A volunteer from the service said: “The woman I meet is amazing, she is so resilient, after everything she has been through in her life, all the abuse she has suffered and her hardships due to the pandemic, she is still pushing herself to date me every week even though it terrifies her. “

‘I am very proud of her’

Another volunteer added: “I am so proud of the woman I am supporting for what she has put in place to protect her and her son from her abuser, it was so brave of her. “

On the other hand, helping women see the beauty in themselves was worth it.

Nicola Coggins, Womankind Volunteer Coordinator, said: “Our wonderful team of trained volunteers have helped isolated people feel safer and more confident, get out and move around green spaces, participate in activities communities and forge new relationships.

Service allows survivors to talk to trained ‘friends’

“A young woman who previously could not leave her home due to severe anxiety is now able to use the bus, go out and do everyday things, reconnect with friends and is happy to ‘have found a job.

On World Mental Health Day (October 10), the National Lottery Community Fund is highlighting the positive impacts that Bristol charities and community groups have on supporting mental health and wellness.

Since the first nationwide lockdown began on March 26 last year, the National Lottery Community Fund has distributed nearly £ 4million to 79 projects in Bristol, which help support mental health and well-being in their communities. communities.

Many of them have seen a huge increase in demand since the start of the pandemic.

To research conducted by mental health charity Mind, earlier this year, shows that 80% of adults over 25 experienced mental distress during or before the COVID-19 pandemic and 68% of young people with mental health issues said they felt worse since the first nationwide lockdown.

Rowan Miller, Southwest Fundraiser at the National Lottery Community Fund, said, “Working with people to reduce stigma and achieve good mental health is essential if we are to see communities thrive and prosper.

“It’s encouraging to see so many groups and volunteers dedicated to supporting others, and especially those from marginalized communities, to improve their mental well-being.”

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