As many in the UK experience multiple losses and restrictions upon their usual pattern of life due to Covid 19, mental health and emotional wellbeing has become foregrounded. Ironically, many are experiencing something of the kind of stress and pressures that refugees and asylum seekers live with habitually. Within the refugee sector, there has been a growing awareness of the insidious impact of supporting very vulnerable and traumatized people. 

Those who work in the refugee sector tend to share a passion for justice and are keen to make a difference in the lives of those who have faced persecution and are exiled from their homelands.  When faced with the challenges of supporting people to navigate the asylum system and enabling refugees to build a new life, it can be discouraging especially when working from home in isolation. While Solace offers individual and group supervision to local refugee services, further requests for individual counselling and group wellbeing sessions are being asked by partner organisations further afield through the use of remote technology.

For example, Refugee Action, Solace’s partner in Bradford, has been developing groups of Experts by Experience (EBE) to inform the development of their services and to raise awareness of refugee issues. To more effectively support their EBE, they have asked Solace to deliver training to run their groups safely and to provide ongoing monthly wellbeing sessions, which provide an opportunity to discuss relevant issues and learn strategies to manage stress and anxiety. Despite the lack of direct contact, many have been appreciative of the opportunity connect together from their homes and learn ways of positively enhancing their lives at this strange time. Refugee Action also plan extend training about trauma and Vicarious Traumatisation to their national staff.

Solace is also working with such partners in South Yorkshire as City of Sanctuary, the SPRING project that supports refugees and ASSIST, a destitution support service by providing training, clinical supervision and individual counselling. Given the technology of zoom, Solace has developed its capacity to support those who are on the front line of supporting the most vulnerable. In the summer, Solace Clinical Director Anne Burghgraef was able to deliver training to counsellors in Kenya via zoom to prepare them to offer therapeutic support to those negatively impacted by the pandemic.

To know more about how Solace can support your service, you are welcome to make contact.