A mental health charity has launched in Perthshire, offering lifeline support to trauma survivors.
Founder Roxeanne Kerr was inspired to set up Trauma Healing Together over concerns that many people in Scotland who have suffered distress aren’t getting the help and treatment they require.
Roxanne, from Rumbling Bridge, near Crook of Devon, said: “Our vision is for all trauma survivors in Scotland to have the resilience and skills needed to live a fulfilling and meaningful life.
“I strongly believe that mental health support should be free to everyone in Scotland.”
She said: “As a trauma therapist, I feel that in Scotland there is a poor understanding of trauma and what it actually looks like, which means that many survivors are not getting the appropriate support they need.
“I hope that through increasing public awareness and initiating research that the charity will begin to change this.
“I believe that good mental health is a basic human need.”
The charity ran a survey earlier this year – completed by 107 trauma survivors – as part of efforts to shape the services it offers.
The responses highlighted a need and support for counselling, yoga and meditation, personal development, vocational training, and research.
“Through our training, we hope to provide opportunities for individuals to develop creative and employability skills while developing the confidence and self-esteem needed to live a meaningful life and make choices which help them become the person they want to be”, Roxanne said.
“We will also provide opportunities for trauma survivors to be involved in the integration of our research findings as we believe that research is only useful if you can apply it in a practical way.”
The charity is currently delivering a therapy service but hopes further services can be implemented by the middle of next year. It is still in the process of applying for extra funding.
Roxanne says she was inspired to set up Trauma Healing Together when she was studying to become a therapist.
Through interacting with trauma survivors while on placement, she identified a need for a service that understands the impact of psychological trauma.
Roxanne said: “When I was studying to be a therapist, my first placement involved working with survivors of childhood sexual abuse.
“While it had caused really severe problems in the life of my clients, what I admired about them was their bravery and courage.”
She said: “What became really apparent to me however was that they felt that not many people really understood what they were going through and they had been passed from pillar to post trying to get support with their trauma but it had often failed.”
She added: “While there are services out there dedicated to specific trauma such as Childhood Sexual Abuse, Domestic Violence, Military service – which are all great services – there appear to be very few organisations which deal with all forms of trauma.”
The coronavirus pandemic has only strengthened the need for better mental wellbeing, Roxanne said.
Concerns over domestic violence, deaths, long-term exposure to grief, and a loss of social connection can add to a decline in a person’s mental health.
She said: “These changes and their consequences are very troubling and without the appropriate measures put in place to support people with their mental health, I feel the threat of developing problematic trauma symptoms or PTSD are very real.
“This will put considerable pressure on the NHS and other third sector organisations which were already stretched thin before Covid-19.”
Trauma Healing Together is already making progress in raising much-needed funds.
It will host an online Christmas quiz on December 19 at 7.30pm as part of fundraising efforts.
Tickets and further information can be found on the Trauma Healing Together website.