“Suddenly there was a group of women that I could go and talk to who had shared many of my experiences and also some lovely workers there like Penny, Lisa and all the other lovely ladies that work there. Just people that treat you like a human being. They’d make you a coffee and have a chat and we’d just talk about stuff, they got to know you and that was lovely and I hadn’t had that for a long time.”
Established in 1987, Wish is a national, user-led charity working with women with mental health needs in prison, hospital and the community. We provide independent advocacy, emotional support and practical guidance at all stages of a woman’s journey through the mental health and criminal justice systems. Wish acts to increase women’s participation in the services they receive, and campaigns to get their voice heard at a policy level. Wish is the only national mental health charity just for women, and is unique in working with women throughout their journey as they move between prison, various levels of secure hospital and the community.
Wish works throughout England and Wales with its Head Office in London. It employs 10 staff and 6 volunteers, has 7 trustees and a membership of over 250 women and 100 supporters. Activities form three strands: the four main services working directly with women, the campaigning arm, Women’s Mental Health Network, and training and consultancy for professionals.
An independent evaluation of our intensive Community Link project by the University of Gloucestershire demonstrated that it produces consistent positive results for women with complex needs. Women experienced positive change across mental health, offending issues and background social and functional issues; 90% showed improvements in all three. Of those who had made change, all improved within two or more domains and 40% saw positive change in all three domains.
One client told us that “to actually have someone to talk to about my family and kids and when I’d see them again was incredible… to have someone in touch with my kid’s social workers just meant everything.”
Our free therapy pilot has also been analysed. Women stated that the sessions helped them with:
- Divulging painful experiences and feeling safe to do so
- Taking responsibility for their feelings
- Expressing a commitment to seeing therapy through
- Feeling stronger and able to cope with difficult situations
- Feeling less negative
- Impacting positively on eating disorder and relationship issues
- Improved mood, less anxious
- Accepting and letting go of some things that have been difficult before.
Find out more
- Why are our services needed?
- Women’s stories
- Our services
- Our policy and campaigning work
- Our staff
- Our trustees
- Become a member of Wish