Torture survivors often find themselves destitute, unable to access a support network and dealing with severe mental and physical health concerns. And with just £39.63 per week to survive on, things were extremely tough, even more so now we are in the middle of a cost of living crisis.
There are nearly 200,000 refugees and asylum seekers in the UK and as many as a quarter may have been tortured in the country they fled. Conditions including anxiety, depression and post-traumatic stress commonly affect the mental health of survivors while physical symptoms include disability, restricted movement and chronic pain. The charity Freedom from Torture says around 80 per cent of its clients experience debilitating physical pain.
This Christmas the charity is asking for donations to provide urgently needed help. £20 could pay for one month’s phone credit to enable a survivor to access remote therapy; £25 could pay for an interpreter for one therapy session; £30 could pay for a one-hour pain self-management session; and £40 could help pay for essentials such as food and toiletries for a destitute survivor.
Who are Freedom from Torture?
Founded on December 24, 1985, it is the only national charity specifically dedicated to the care, protection and rehabilitation of torture survivors. On average, they directly support around 700 adults, children and young people – refugees and asylum seekers from countries affected by conflict – every year, across five treatment centres in London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle and Glasgow.
Rehabilitation through the charity helps survivors move into new communities and rebuild their lives while becoming a valued part of our society.
The charity uses holistic treatment to increase mental health and wellbeing in survivors while they overcome trauma. This part of their work began when it became apparent some survivors even struggle to access basic support, never mind help specifically for trauma survivors.
Therapy can be one-to-one, in groups and families, or even done socially though activities like gardening, music and baking. The charity also has a pain management service to help self-manage symptoms of physical pain, legal and welfare advice, and a Medico-Legal Report service that provides evidence of torture for use before asylum decision-making bodies.
Freedom from Torture’s centre in Birmingham is the only dedicated torture treatment centre in the West Midlands. Your support could provide a lifeline for torture survivors struggling to cope with their mental and physical health, further exacerbated by the ever-increasing cost of living. Your donation could help them make it through the winter and look forward with hope to a brighter future.
To find out more or to make a donation please visit the website here.