The refugees and asylum seekers we support have survived the horrors of torture, trafficking and other gross human rights abuse.
Now living in exile in London, many are living in poverty or destitute.
The pandemic has hit our community hard. Increased isolation through periods of lockdowns, and ongoing shielding for underlying health conditions, has put significant pressure on people already dealing with poor mental health.
Their difficulties are compounded by their many practical challenges, such as being housed in squalid asylum accommodation, lack of access to welfare support, and difficulty in accessing healthcare.
We now urgently need to raise funds for our therapeutic support programme for these refugees and asylum seekers for 2022, so they can get the specialist support they need to gradually rebuild their lives here.
Our therapeutic work includes one-to-one therapy sessions tailored to each person, helping them reduce post-traumatic stress disorder symptoms, such as daytime flashbacks, recurring nightmares and panic attacks.
Weekly group therapy sessions provide a safe space for these people to share their experiences and learn to slowly trust others once again. People often find these sessions profoundly healing, as they come to learn they are not the only ones to have experienced such horrors. Here, group members begin to feel less isolated and build safe new relationships, often likening their group members to their "brothers and sisters in the UK".
Most of our community members have no access to green space. Our weekly therapeutic gardening activities give people precious time in nature and fresh air, helping them restore a sense of peace, “‘You can feel the serenity”. At these sessions, members join together to share a freshly cooked meal. For those who eat alone most of the week, this is a special time for people to come together, “When you work in the garden together, you laugh together, you cook together and eat together, it is like family”.
Over the last 3 years, 100% of respondents to our anonymous members’ survey told us their mental health has improved as a direct result of being supported by Room to Heal.
Please help fund our therapy service for 2022, so survivors can continue to heal.