Not all BHT Sussex’s mental health services are residential. The Threshold Women’s Counselling Service provides a lifeline to many women. This is the account of one of them.
“I found out about the service through Survivors’ Network. I was in a distressed state due to recent abuse and decided to go to Threshold because I wanted some more help and support. When I initially came to the Drop In I was very distressed. Staff were concerned about me because of the state that I was in, but I felt very comfortable talking to the Drop In workers.
“Before going to the service I was scared to go out, so the first few times I came I had to have someone to support me to get there. I then started using the bus to get there by myself and it was Threshold who gave me the confidence to go outside. I started looking forward to the days that the Drop In ran.
“I started getting better. It took me about a year to gain enough confidence to become a Peer Support Volunteer. The training was really interesting. I learnt about boundaries and what was involved in volunteering and I decided to give it a try. Threshold allows me to offer Peer Support when I feel up to it and continue to offer me support on ‘down days’.
“As a Peer Support Volunteer I like meeting and chatting to other clients and feel confident in the women-only environment. Before, I was scared to speak to people and had no confidence at all. I used to feel embarrassed when people talked to me and just wanted to hide in a corner. It is through Threshold that I gained my confidence.
“I also received counselling through Threshold and it has helped me hugely. I now understand myself more and have gained back some of the confidence I lost through the abuse. I am due to have some more counselling to continue working on my confidence around others and in myself.
“The therapeutic groups that Threshold run have also really helped me to learn about myself, to realise the kinds of relationships I should be looking for, and to help myself cope with stress and trauma.