MHAW: “The sector needs a robust, feminist, trauma informed therapeutic model”

To mark #MentalHealthAwarenessWeek we are ending our blog post series with SATEDA’s CEO, Dr Liza Thompson.

Why is mental health support for survivors and their children so vital?

The trauma of domestic abuse remains with a victim for a long time – it can affect mental health in many ways – including the mis-diagnosis and medicating of mental illness, when what the victim is experiencing is a very valid response to the trauma they have experienced.

It is vital, in order for survivors to recover from the ordeal of domestic abuse, that we support them in acknowledging their experiences, the subsequent trauma and how this trauma can affect them both mentally and physically.

What role does SATEDA play in providing this vital support?

SATEDA provides counselling as part of the Journey of Support – we also work in partnership with Edify to ensure that the counselling offered to each woman is specific to their needs.

SATEDA is proud to offer the Own My Life group programme – this is a trauma informed group programme for women who are or who have been subjected to domestic abuse. Home | Own My Life Course.

What opportunities are being missed, locally and nationally to support the mental health of survivors and their children?

The sector needs a robust, feminist, trauma informed therapeutic model which is encompassed within services offered to women and children. Counselling should not just be a bolt on, or an addition to other services – by providing a long term, therapeutic programme, trauma caused by domestic abuse can be treated without mental illness becoming another label which a survivor must carry around with her.

How do you look after your mental health?

Looking after my mental health is vital as being rundown triggers an underlying anxiety issue I have had since my teens. When things get too on top I just switch off the world, close the curtains and have a sofa day with my family. Binge watching Parks and Recreations and Modern Family, and napping when required re-centres me ready to face the world again. My day to day self-care includes weight training, walking my dogs and listening (lip-syncing) to P!nk.