With the restrictions and the increased pressure to stay at home, people in abusive relationships, women in particular, are having to spend more time with their abusers. As a result, domestic abuse cases have escalated dramatically and the work of local partners like The Maya Centre has been crucial.
The Maya Centre is a free counselling service in Islington for women who have experienced mental health issues which may stem from trauma including domestic violence, physical abuse or sexual abuse in childhood, war and conflict.
The Maya Centre has worked hard to support Islington residents during Covid-19, with a focus on providing safe online counselling to women who may be particularly isolated as a result of lockdown and the increased pressure to stay at home.
Here’s a story they shared with us:
“One client, Mary, epitomises this support. Originally from Senegal, Mary has travelled across the world via different countries and now lives in Islington with her sister. Both women have attended counselling at the Maya Centre in relation to depression caused by cultural displacement and loneliness, which has made them over-reliant on each other, and fearful about pursuing independent lives. Covid-19 has increased this fear, with concerns over risks to her physical health adding to Mary’s reluctance to leave her home.
Infographic by The Maya Centre
Mary was initially reticent about engaging with counselling and took time to build trust with her therapist and participate fully in sessions. Gradually, she was able to reflect on her relationships with others, and came to see how her loss of family and culture through migration was affecting her in the present moment, making her anxious about standing on her own two feet. With help from her therapist, she was able to grieve, focus on gentle self-care and gradually lessen her control of her sister. She was better able to negotiate challenges and more willing to think about a next phase in life, seeing a time beyond Covid-19 when she could engage in activities outside the home, meet new people and nurture her relationships with others.
Mary was very positive about her support from the Maya Centre, expressing how she felt respected, nurtured and understood by her therapist.”