World Mental Health Day: Islington charity targets Hidden Women with new campaign

The Maya Centre in Islington. Picture: Submitted by The Maya Centre

The Maya Centre in Islington. Picture: Submitted by The Maya Centre - Credit: Archant

An Islington charity is launching a campaign called Hidden Women to mark World Mental Health Day, offering support to women who are isolated and vulnerable due to Covid-19.

The Maya Centre in Elthorne Road offers culturally sensitive free counselling for women in Islington who are suffering from depression, gender-based violence and sexual abuse, with 70pc of its clients from BAME and refugee backgrounds.

Its interactive campaign animation features a woman saying “can you hear me?”, with hands reaching out to her replying “we’re here for you,” in multiple languages.

READ MORE: Who’s Who: Tahera Aanchawan from Archway’s Maya Centre on the importance of talking about traumaREAD MORE: Archway mental health charity Maya Centre says #MeToo has sparked huge rise in women seeking its helpThe charity hopes its message will reach women whose isolation is exacerbated by language barriers and other inequality and discrimination they face.

Emma Brech, the charity’s chief executive, said: “We want to reach hidden women.

“We know there are more women isolated and vulnerable due to Covid-19, who don’t realise what’s happening to them.”

Culturally sensitive support is offered to women in their own languages from counsellors reflecting the diversity of the community, making it easier to build trust.

Support focuses on the trauma women have suffered and the longer psychological support they need on their journey to recovery.

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Covid-19 has seen steady referrals to the charity, with women disclosing more readily.

Emma added: “Women are saying it earlier and more fully. It may be because of the pressure women are under due to the pandemic or because they feel more able to disclose things with remote services.

“Referral to us is often the end of the line, passed on by word of mouth. We rely on communities to talk about it with each other.”

Emma believes this World Mental Health Day on October 10 is particularly important as the pandemic opens people’s eyes to think more globally.

She said: “The pandemic has impacted everybody’s wellbeing. We have a disease threatening our physical wellbeing and the hidden impact is our mental wellbeing.

“We live in an inclusive and diverse city. How we reach out and have conversations across cultures as a two-way process is vital.

“We all need to remember to look beyond our own plight and look worldwide to empathise with what we’re all going through.”

Support can be found on the charity’s website.