A charity is appealing for funds to give counselling to traumatised refugees – many of whom are revealing they have also suffered sexual or emotional abuse.
Waterloo Community Counselling (WCC), in Frazier Street, Lambeth, is having to cope with a surge in demand for its support, because of the war in Ukraine and conflict in places like Syria and the Yemen.
Head of operations Miriam Philip said: “As we see trauma and suffering across the world and in our beloved capital increase, we know we can be there and the role we can play to help people.
“For over 25 years we have provided life changing talking therapy to London’s most marginalised and vulnerable communities.
“We want to help as many Londoners as possible get support with their mental health.”
WCC offers long-term, low-cost counselling contracts. The subsidised counselling fees allow people on low incomes or on benefits to access necessary and affordable talking therapy.
The charity also includes the Multi-Ethnic Counselling Service (MECS), a specialist mother-tongue counselling service for refugees, asylum-seekers and migrants. Some of its counsellors have themselves came to the UK as refugees or asylum seekers.
The service offers over 35 languages for talking therapy, to improve the mental health and wellbeing of some of London’s most marginalised communities.
Many clients have come from dangerous situations further exacerbated by Covid-19.
WCC has seen an increase in the number of referrals who have experienced physical, sexual and emotional abuse or domestic violence as well as persecution due to ethnicity, sexuality, religious or political views.
WCC believes it has never been more crucial to provide accessible, affordable, and effective counselling and therapy for the community.
Priya Commander, Clinical Services Manager, said “the feedback we get is generally extremely positive […] clients we see have a good experience with us”.
In a recent survey 90% of service users at WCC reported that after finishing their counselling they felt less isolated and more connected to their community.
They have been able to clearly address the issues that brought them to counselling and as such they experience improved mental health and wellbeing.
For more information visit the Crowdfunding page: https://www.crowdfunder.co.uk/p/life-changing-counselling-in-the-heart-of-london
WHAT CLIENTS SAY:
“I was isolated and scared of reaching out when I need help”
Refugees who have fled war and famine have revealed how much counselling helped them adjust to their new life. Clients of Waterloo Community Counselling paid tribute to the way it has enabled them to rebuild their lives.
They said: “Before counselling I was isolated and scared of reaching out when I need help. I really struggled for many years alone. Counselling helped me to understand my problems, to reconnect with others and ask for help without fear whenever I need one. What I mostly found helpful was talking to you and understanding my problems from different perspectives. Your encouragements and constant support were very helpful.”
“Since I started counselling, I have gained many understanding about myself and problems. What I find the most helpful in counselling is, first it is in a language I can understand and express my problems without any difficulties. And counselling helps me to open up about many childhoods traumatic experiences and understand my feelings better. Even though I’m still struggling with some aspects of my life I would say that counselling has given me a different meaning in my life”
“Having someone who spoke my language was essential in this process, as the difficulty in speaking in English generated triggers for me, and having this care was so important and welcoming, I am very happy with everything.”