Mental Health

Our Mental Health Project started in 2012 in conjunction with Staffordshire and West Midlands Community Rehabilitation Company and the Department of Health. This was in response to the large number of women in the Criminal Justice System suffering from mental health issues that included Personality Disorder, Bi-Polar Disorder, Schizophrenia and severe anxiety and or/ depression. At Anawim we recognise the direct link between a woman’s experience of trauma in her childhood or adult life (be it from physical/ emotional/ sexual abuse/neglect) and her experiences of mental health issues. Often women experience very vivid and terrifying flashbacks, they may experience debilitating panic attacks or they may struggle in their relationships with others because of their past experiences. Therefore our Mental Health Team aims to work holistically with any client referred in to the service. We can support women at meetings with their local Community Mental Health Team, advocate on their behalf at GP appointments, provide emotional one to one support, conduct home visits to those women who (due to their mental health) are terrified of leaving their front door, provide support at medical assessments and provide practical support in gaining an understanding of their mental health diagnosis/ medication.


Trauma, Recovery and Empowerment is a step-by-step recovery group to help women who have experienced trauma.

It is often found that women who have experienced trauma:

  • Struggle with psychological, emotional and physical symptoms related to their experiences.
  • Use dysfunctional behaviours as a way of coping with trauma as they were not given the opportunities to develop helpful coping skills.
  • Struggle with difficult relationships, especially those with their family, their connection to their community and with themselves.
  • Experience powerlessness and feel unable to advocate for themselves.

The TREM group focuses on addressing these issues, helping with:

  • Identifying and understanding the psychological, emotional and physical symptoms and how they are related to their experiences.
  • Appreciating the problem-solving attempts locked and hidden in certain repetitive, unhelpful patterns and developing new skills and coping strategies.
  • Understanding and addressing misconceptions and misperceptions of the self, the body and sexuality.
  • Reflecting on healthy relationships, focusing on boundaries and communication.
  • Creating a healing community by providing a healing group.
  • Providing an opportunity for women to feel competence and empowerment, with an ability to trust their own perceptions.

TREM is an intensive 20 week course covering the following topics:

1. Introductory Session
2. What do you know and how do you feel about your body?
3. Physical and emotional boundaries
4. Self-esteem and self-soothing
5. Intimacy and trust
6. Sexuality and sex with a partner
7. Gaining an understanding of trauma
8. The body remembers what the mind forgets
9. Physical and sexual abuse
10. Emotional abuse
11. Institutional abuse
12. Abuse and psychological or emotional symptoms
13. Trauma and addictive or compulsive behaviour & self-destructive behaviours
14. Abuse and relationships
15. Family life, myths and distortions
16. Decision making and communication
17. Blame, acceptance and forgiveness
18. Feeling out of control
19. Personal healing & truth and myths about abuse
20. What it means to be a woman & closing rituals

The course is facilitated by a Clinical Psychologist, Mental Health Probation Officer and an Anawim Mental Health Support Worker.


Stop and Think

Stop and Think is a recognised social problem-solving course specifically for women with personality disorder. It is an on-going course that provides the opportunity for group members to share their problems in a safe environment and to gain from the knowledge and experience of their fellow group members. The Stop and Think course follows a set pattern every week for 4 weeks:

  • Problem recognition – Feeling bad?
  • Problem definition – What’s my problem?
  • Goal setting – What do I want?
  • Generation of alternatives – What are my options?
  • Decision making – What is my plan?
  • Evaluation – How am I doing?

Women have brought a variety of problems to the group so far such as ‘I want to stop misusing substances’ and ‘I want to get my children back from the care of Children’s Services’. They have been able to set themselves a realistic plan (through the group process) and feedback to the group the following week on any progress they have made. Every fifth week group facilitators deliver a ‘psych ed’ session that focuses on psychologically informed education around anxiety, depression, emotional regulation, substance misuse/ addictions etc. The group is very much led by group members and so we are willing to tailor these sessions around the needs of the group at the time.