Healing from Trauma
A Perth charity that supports and empowers trauma survivors has been awarded £200,000 to help local people rebuild their lives.
Trauma Healing Together has been awarded just over £195,000 by the National Lottery Community Fund (over three years) and £5,000 by the Women’s Fund for Scotland (over one year) to deliver its ‘Resilience Project’.
The funding will allow the charity to support 240 trauma survivors, who are struggling with their mental health, to develop the resilience and skills required to heal, and live a fulfilling and meaningful life. Two specific cohorts will be created for women only.
Initially piloted in January 2022, the Resilience Project is designed for people who have experienced any form of traumatic event(s) which has overwhelmed their ability to cope with day to day life. The project provides 24 weeks of trauma-focused counselling broken down into weekly 50-minute sessions alongside 16 weeks of 2.5 hour, weekly group wellbeing sessions. Clients are also provided with follow-up three-month, six-month and annual check-in sessions providing additional advice and support for their next steps.
The wellbeing sessions allow clients to choose from various activities ranging from yoga and sleep management to creative writing, photography, nutrition and even fencing. These are facilitated by Trauma Healing Together but delivered by third-sector partner organisations. They focus on helping clients identify future goals, build resilience and confidence. They also give clients the knowledge and tools needed to be their own advocate.
Roxanne Kerr, CEO and Founder of Trauma Healing Together, said, “Through The Resilience Project, we support our clients with everything from their anxiety, confidence and self-worth to skills and strategies to deal with the emotions of their trauma, the ability to make positive changes and manage day-to-day relationships. The wellbeing sessions also provide them with a clearer insight into their interests, life goals and passions, empowering them to identify and achieve them. More than anything, we provide a safe, supportive environment where our clients are respected, heard and empowered to make their own choices.”
Thanks to the funding, the charity can fund a Project Officer to manage and grow the project. Crucially, the charity is also exploring ways to train and upskill previous clients to become volunteer group facilitators, creating a holistic ‘lived experience’ approach while providing facilitators with a sense of empowerment by sharing their own experiences.
So far, 23 clients have attended the Resilience Project, including Laura Findlay from Stanley who said, “Trauma Healing Together has supported me through group therapy and one-to-one counselling. Although counselling isn’t endless sessions, it has been the most I have managed to get from a single organisation and with someone I actually feel comfortable with and listened by. Some days I don’t want to see anybody or do anything, but I get up and go to weekly counselling and always leave feeling like a little weight has been lifted. I thought gaining new fun skills through the group work to help cope with times of distress was fantastic. The photography was my favourite, and my one-to-one counselling has really made me feel listened to.”
To raise funds for Trauma Healing Together, Laura and her husband Rab will take part in the Dundee 20-mile Kiltwalk on 20 August 2023. Walking has become a solace in Laura’s life, from being in a wheelchair for two years to slowly building up walking again or enjoying some fresh air. To support Laura in her fundraising efforts, please visit www.justgiving.com/fundraising/lauraandrab
Launched in 2020, Trauma Healing Together is led by people with lived experience, and the majority of its Board members, staff and students have had their mental health impacted by some form of traumatic experience. The charity was initially shaped by rigorous feedback sessions from 120 trauma survivors, over 80% of whom had experienced two or more types of trauma, proving how vulnerable those who have encountered an initial traumatic experience can be. In addition, 77% of those surveyed stated that trauma still significantly impacted their lives and 77% of people indicated that they were dissatisfied with the mental health provisions in their area.
Roxanne added, “When we launched the charity, we wanted to create a project which fits the needs of the people it serves. By putting trauma survivors at the centre of our work, we believe we are offering something different to other services that offer more generic therapeutic support to trauma survivors.”
As part of Mental Health Awareness week (Monday 15 to Sunday 21 May 2023), Roxanne is hosting two webinars – an Introduction to Trauma Healing Together on Tuesday 16 May at 10.30am and a ‘Science of Trauma’ webinar on Tuesday 16 May at 6.30pm and on Friday 19 May at 2pm. For more information and to sign up, visit www.traumahealingtogether.eventbrite.com.
Individuals who have experienced trauma and who would like support with their mental health can self-refer via https://www.traumahealingtogether.org/resilienceproject. For more information, visit www.traumahealingtogether.org, email firstname.lastname@example.org, or phone 01738 248283.
NOTE TO EDITORS
Roxanne Kerr is an experienced and qualified clinical certified trauma specialist with a BA in Psychology, a master’s degree in counselling from Abertay University, a certificate in Trauma from Trauma Institute International and a certificate in Complex Trauma and Dissociation from the International Society for the Study of Trauma and Dissociation (ISSTD). Over the last eight years, she has successfully worked with trauma survivors, including extensive work with Survivors of Childhood Sexual Abuse and individuals with mental health illnesses such as bipolar and schizophrenia. She is also trained in Crisis Management and is a member of the British Association for Counsellors and Psychotherapy. Roxanne is also a qualified trainer with 10 years of experience creating and delivering training courses, including those which are SQA accredited.
Trauma Healing Together is a member of the British Society for Counselling and Psychotherapy, requiring compliance with external regulations and ethical practices.