For 35 years, WISH has been a lifeline for women facing profound mental health challenges. But demand for our services has escalated, and we now face some impossible choices…  

Do we attend court with Mary, who is desperately battling to keep her children – or provide a counselling session for Tiana, who has recently suffered sexual abuse?  

Do we spend three hours on the phone with Bhavini, helping her navigate an acute suicidal episode – or visit Janice, who is about to give birth in prison? 

Do we help Aisha find a safe place to sleep tonight – or keep the lights on at our office in Bethnal Green, where hundreds of vulnerable women have found a safe haven over the years?  

We want to continue helping all of these women in their darkest moments. But the pressure on our services has now completely outstripped our charity’s financial resources, with more and more women pushed into crisis by poverty, prejudice and the extreme difficulties of accessing NHS mental healthcare. Over the past year, the number of women in free counselling with us has doubled, and our waiting lists grow by the week.  

We urgently need to raise £35,000 by the end of May.

Your support is vital – please give whatever you can to help us keep our doors open for all the women who need us. 

Your help could make all the difference. 

Raising £35,000 would enable us to:

  • Continue to provide Independent Mental Health Advocacy (IMHA) services in hospitals across the UK
  • Meet our ongoing core costs, including salaries for our small team of staff and running costs for our office
  • Recruit and train more community-link volunteers to support those who are struggling to navigate day-to-day life as a result of mental health challenges
  • Recruit more skilled counsellors to provide every woman who needs it with trauma-informed, gender-specific counselling, completely free.

FUNDRAISE FOR WISH

Book sales, coffee mornings, sponsored walks… Our wonderful supporters have raised money for WISH in lots of fun and creative ways. Download our Fundraising Pack below for more ideas.

TALK ABOUT WISH

Your help in amplifying our voice is essential. Tell your friends, family and colleagues about our work. Join our online community and like, save and share our posts on Instagram, LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook. Download our design assets below to show the world that you stand with us. 

Stories from the women we work with

Gemma’s story

Gemma’s mother died when she was a baby and Gemma was adopted at the age of 2. A family member began sexually abusing her when she was 7 years old.

Gemma began self-harming and developed anorexia. At the age of 16, she was sent to hospital, and she remained in the care of various hospitals for the next 7 years. She was finally released to temporary accommodation, despite expressing that she did not feel well enough to cope on her own. She continued self-harming and started committing minor offences in order to get herself into prison – the only place where she believed she could make friends and get the help she needed. During this period, she ended up in prison a total of 14 times, with the longest continuous period she spent out of prison being just 9 weeks.

Wish started working with Gemma in prison. We supported her through a very difficult relationship with her psychiatrist, who was often obstructive of Gemma’s recovery and refused to sanction the support she needed. At one point, Gemma had been released from prison and was doing well when she suffered a sexual assault. Her mental health then took a turn for the worse and she reoffended in order to get back into prison, where she felt she would have more structured clinical and practical support.

Gemma has now received over 3,200 hours of support from Wish staff. Since we first met her, she has made huge amounts of progress, managing to move into her own flat, pay off her debts and complete a creative writing course. She has learned how to look after herself and form relationships outside of a prison environment. Gemma has now successfully stayed out of prison for several years, though she still occasionally needs in-patient respite care.

Wanda’s story

After escaping an abusive marriage that lasted 20 years, Wanda began a new relationship with a man who also subjected her to emotional and violent sexual abuse, culminating in an incident in which she was admitted to hospital with internal injuries. At that point, she finally felt brave enough to report him to the police, but he was never charged.

Over the next few years Wanda became more and more depressed and distressed, eventually distributing photocopies of the hospital report of her injuries and throwing paint at her abuser’s office. Her desperation to have her story heard caused her to be arrested and taken to court many times. Wish first met Wanda when she was extremely unwell in prison awaiting trial. After she was bailed, we supported her to live in the community for five months, advocating for her needs with the relevant authorities. However, when her case came to trial, Wanda was sectioned to a secure hospital ward.

It became clear to us that very few of the professionals who were describing Wanda as ‘dangerous’ and rushing to diagnose her with a delusional disorder had actually taken the time to read her full case history. If they had, they would have realised that she was in fact telling the truth about the various injustices she had suffered at the hands of courts, lawyers and the police. Wish wrote to her consultant to inform him of the full facts and, after discussing Wanda’s case with us, he reversed the decision and she was discharged.

Wanda still suffers greatly with her diagnosis and struggles to come to terms with the fact she will never get justice for what happened to her. We are in frequent contact with her to provide emotional support, but she has not had further trouble with the police and has stayed out of hospital.

Maya’s story

Maya is the mother of three children. She found herself in prison after having accompanied her husband to a drug house to buy weed – once they were inside, the door was locked and they found themselves in a situation involving kidnapping and violence. While she waited for her case to come to court, she was held on remand for over a year for her own safety.

Maya was terrified that the gang involved would find her family and constantly worried about her children, who her mother was struggling to look after. She began to suffer from depression. Wish assisted both Maya and her mother, including by raising money to help with basic household expenses. Maya was ultimately released by a judge who told her ‘you were in the wrong place at the wrong time’, but she left court a hundred miles from home with no money.

WISH continued to support Maya to rebuild her life after her time in prison. We found and paid for a course in counselling, which she completed. Maya and her family were then threatened by members of the gang, with her children receiving disturbing phone calls from their father (who was still in prison) and being stopped in the street by menacing men. We helped her to approach a different borough to request accommodation in a safer location and found a housing solicitor to advise her. Maya has now completed a university degree in counselling skills and has volunteered with WISH as one of our counsellors. She has moved into new permanent accommodation and her children are receiving psychological help. Her mother has also been rehoused into supported accommodation.

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