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Self-esteem

Introduction

Self-esteem is the opinion that we have about ourselves. Many survivors of sexual violence experience low self-esteem. This can feel very isolating, but please know that you are not alone. Things might be difficult now, but there are things that can help you to feel better. 

 

This section will take a close look at the importance of healthy self-esteem, how to recognise symptoms of low self-esteem, and includes a toolkit of tips and activities that may help you to develop a more positive outlook and opinion of yourself.

1 – Self-esteem – Survivor Stories

Click the video below to hear survivors of rape sexual abuse talk about their experiences of self-esteem.

 

.Click the links below to watch the survivor interviews in full on YouTube:


Click the video below to hear tips and advice from survivors about coping techniques that helped them to improve their self-esteem.

 

You may find that your experiences of self-esteem as a survivor are different from the ones we describe in this section, and that is completely normal.

2 – What is Self-esteem?

Self-esteem is the term used to describe a person’s overall sense of self-worth or self-value. It is how you see yourself, how much you appreciate and like yourself, and your opinion of yourself. It also includes your sense of identity, your self-confidence, your feeling of being competent and your sense of belonging. Self-esteem is not just about liking yourself; it also means believing in yourself, valuing you own thoughts, feelings, opinions, needs, interests, and goals, and believing that you deserve care and consideration, respect, and love.

For survivors who have Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), self-esteem can be a particularly complex subject. Different parts/alters will have their individual issues with self-esteem. For those parts who are able it might help them to choose their own needs and how to address them. If this applies to you, you may find this section overwhelming. Take it as slow as you need to – picking one suggestion at a time to focus on can help. It is possible to achieve change by building on positive steps that might feel small but are achievable. Click here to read more about DID in the Dissociation section of our website.

How self-esteem can affect you

Your self-esteem can affect whether you:

  • Believe you matter and are good enough
  • Value and like yourself as a person
  • Show kindness towards yourself
  • Recognise your strengths and positives
  • Take the time you need for yourself and have your needs met
  • Believe you deserve happiness
  • Form and maintain friendships and relationships
  • Are able to make decisions and assert yourself
  • Feel able to try new or difficult things
  • Forgive yourself and move past mistakes without blaming yourself unfairly.

Healthy self-esteem helps you to feel positive about yourself and your life. It impacts how you care for and treat yourself, and how you allow others to treat you. It also gives you confidence to face life challenges and to manage the ebb and flow of life’s ups and downs. Self-esteem also affects your motivation and mood to enable you to develop healthy, supportive relationships, to pursue the things you want in life, and to maintain physical and mental wellbeing. For many people, healthy self-esteem improves with age, although some people continue to struggle with low self-esteem as they get older.

There are a number of factors that form our self-esteem, including:

  • Genetics or inherited traits
  • Personality
  • Life experiences
  • Age
  • Health
  • Thoughts
  • Social circumstances
  • The reactions of others.

Self-esteem can fluctuate as we all have periods of time when we feel good about ourselves and times when we lack confidence or feel negative about ourselves. This can lower our self-esteem and change how we view ourselves. It can also lower our mood, making it harder to manage stress or pressures in our daily lives.

Remember: if you are feeling tired or overwhelmed, remember that it is completely fine to take a break and come back to this section another time.

3 – Experiencing Low Self-esteem

What does low self-esteem look like?

When we have low self-esteem, we tend to view ourselves much more negatively, and are more self-critical. We also tend to feel less able to face life’s challenges. While short periods of lowered self-esteem can happen to anyone, if low self-esteem becomes a more frequent or long-term problem, it can have a harmful effect on our confidence, mood, and mental health.

Common signs of low self-esteem include:
  • Believing that you are worthless, unlovable and unwanted
  • Self-criticism, negative self-talk or negative self-image, especially when this is inconsistent with external observation
  • Negative thoughts about yourself and your abilities, including self-hatred and self-loathing. These harsh, critical, and abusive thoughts lead to a negative internal critic and dialogue
  • Lack of confidence
  • Saying “I’m sorry” and constantly apologising for things that you have no control over or responsibility for
  • Feeling guilty for everyday actions or taking up too much space
  • Feeling you have little or no control over your life and what happens to you
  • Negative social comparison
  • Not being able to ask for what you need or neglecting your needs by prioritising the needs of others. Also not feeling deserving of ‘more’
  • ‘Blending in’ or staying under the radar by going along with what others are wearing, saying, or doing, and not ‘rocking the boat’
  • Not being able to accept positive feedback, compliments, or empathy from others
  • Hopelessness about the future
  • Self-sabotage
  • Lack of boundaries and not being able to say no
  • Trying to please others, or people-pleasing, to gain approval or validation
  • Doing things or buying gifts excessively for other people to feel wanted, needed, recognised or accepted
  • Making comparisons to others and feeling less than others
  • Being highly sensitive to criticism and rejection from others
  • Overreliance on approval and love for others
  • High expectations of yourself, or expectation from others, that are impossible to achieve
  • Fear of failure or embarrassment, worry and self-doubt
  • Self-blame, guilt and shame, especially when this not justified, or not your fault
  • Not able to feel empathy or compassion for your self
  • Avoiding new things and not taking up opportunities
  • Difficulty making your own decisions or choices, and finding it difficult to stick by them when you do
  • Difficulty making friends and forming relationships
  • Worrying about not being able to do things, such as not managing stress, or being able to face life challenges
  • Low mood, depression and anxiety.

Video – Self-Esteem: How it Changes and 2 Ways to Boost It – YouTube

Click here to watch Dr Tracey Marks explain how you might be able to improve your self-esteem.

Please note: This link will take you away from The Survivors Trust Resources website. The link is being provided for informational purposes only. The Survivors Trust bears no responsibility for any advertising content shown on external websites and videos.

Click here for a guide on how to clear your YouTube browsing history.

What causes low self-esteem?

Low self-esteem is often caused by cognitive distortions. Cognitive distortions, also know as ‘unhelpful thinking styles’, are ways that our thoughts become an inaccurate reflection of reality. As humans, we are constantly interpreting the world around us, consciously and unconsciously. To try to make sense of situations, our brains sometimes come to conclusions that are not completely accurate. This can negatively impact our self-esteem. For example, if someone gets given a project that we wanted at work, we might jump to the conclusion that they are doing better than we are, and that we are not performing adequately, when the reality could be that we have very different skillsets, and another project would be more suited to us.

 

In order to experience healthy self-esteem, a number of other factors need to be fulfilled. According to Abraham Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs (1943), basic needs such as physiological needs and safety and security needs have to be satisfied in order to develop healthy esteem and a sense of accomplishment. It is only when esteem needs are met that you can grow and achieve your full potential. This is known as self-actualisation.

Maslow’s Hierarchy of Needs

Low self-esteem often begins in childhood through the messages we receive about ourselves. Parents or carers, siblings, friends, teachers, and the media all send positive and negative messages about us, which can impact our self-esteem. They may also have expectations that we feel we cannot live up to, and as a result we might feel inadequate or like a failure. These messages can make us feel as though we are not good enough and tend to stay with us throughout our lives, leading to low self-esteem. How we interpret messages from others also has an impact on self-esteem. If we tend to interpret messages about ourselves negatively, rather than constructive feedback, we are more likely to experience low self-esteem. It helps to remember that we can learn to control how we interpret messages we receive about ourselves, and thereby change our self-esteem. 

Comparison to others can cause low self-esteem or make low self-esteem worse. This can be heightened if you spend a lot of time on social media. People tend to curate a ‘best version’ of themselves on social media, and it can seem that others are leading perfect, fun-filled, happy lives all of the time. However, it is important to remember that social media presents an edited snapshot of someone’s life and is not necessarily accurate.

 

Our personalities also play a role in low self-esteem, as some people are more sensitive to criticism, and prone to negative thinking, as well as more likely to set extremely high standards for themselves that are difficult to achieve. As a result, we may become over-reliant on the approval and love of others. Low self-esteem can also be caused by serious physical illness, poor physical health and poor mental health.

Low self-esteem can create anxiety, stress, loneliness and increase the risk of low mood and depression. While low self-esteem is not categorised as a mental health condition, it does impact on the way we feel about ourselves and this affects both physical and mental wellbeing. 

 

The things that affect low self-esteem differ for everyone and we may experience a sudden onset of low self-esteem, or experience low self-esteem for a long time and feel that this normal and cannot be changed.

 

There are a range of experiences that can cause low self-esteem. A person with low self-esteem might experience some of the examples below, completely different experiences, or there may not be an identifiable cause. The more negative experiences that we have throughout our lives, the more likely we are to have low self-esteem.

  • Not having basic needs such physiological and safety needs met
  • A history of childhood abuse (emotional, physical, sexual or neglect), Adverse Childhood Experiences (ACEs), or childhood trauma
  • Experiencing traumatic events in adulthood
  • Being in an abusive relationship, or experiencing domestic abuse or sexual violence
  • Extremely critical parents, carers, siblings, or teachers, who had impossibly high expectations
  • Fear of failure
  • Self-blame, guilt and shame. This is especially true if you have been abused as it often feels safer to blame yourself that to see your parents, partner or friend as unreliable and dangerous
  • Overreliance on the evaluations, love, and approval of others
  • Poor academic performance in school or college resulting in a lack of confidence.
  • Experiencing prejudice, discrimination and being stigmatised or marginalised. This can be due to ethnicity, sexuality, gender, poverty, unemployment, homelessness or immigration status
  • Being bullied, intimidated, humiliated, or shamed in childhood, or as an adult at home or at work
  • Bereavement
  • Stress due to overwhelming challenges or competing task. This can be at home, in your relationships, at work, or in studies
  • Relationship difficulties, separation, or divorce
  • Losing your job or having difficulties finding employment
  • Anxiety and worries about money, prolonged financial hardship or debt or housing
  • Worries and anxieties about body image or appearance
  • Physical health problems including life-altering illnesses or injuries, or being in chronic pain
  • Mental health problems, especially low mood, depression, Post-traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD), Generalised Anxiety Disorder (GAD), Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), and eating disorders.

Remember: you have a right to feel good about yourself and who you are. Change can be difficult, but there are a lot of things that can help improve your self-esteem.

Many people with low self-esteem will have had difficulty with attaching to main care givers. This might be because of the care givers’ own unresolved issues from their childhood, but sadly it can be perpetuated into the next generation. You may have experienced confusion and chaos, ‘disorganised attachment’ or the care giver may have been unemotionally available. This can affect your relationships with others.

Video – 9 Habits That Are Destroying your Confidence – You Tube

Click here to watch Psych2Go’s animation on unhealthy habits which may be impacting your self-confidence.

Please note: This link will take you away from The Survivors Trust Resources website. The link is being provided for informational purposes only. The Survivors Trust bears no responsibility for any advertising content shown on external websites and videos.

Click here for a guide on how to clear your YouTube browsing history.

How low self-esteem can impact your behaviour

While low self-esteem impacts everyone differently, there are number of ways it can affect your behaviour.

 

  • Hiding away from social situations (social withdrawal). This can include not wanting to be around others, avoiding meeting friends or family, declining invitations to social events or parties, cancelling scheduled plans at the last minute, or not wanting to talk to anyone about how you are feeling as you fear it will worsen your low mood, depression, or anxiety
  • Attacking, lashing out, or becoming aggressive or hostile towards others is a way of keeping them at bay. Keeping people at a distance can help increase your fear of being exposed or criticised, which can cause difficulties in forming and sustaining friendships and romantic relationships
  • Becoming immersed and preoccupied with worrying about your personal circumstances can consume all your energy resulting in not being able to help others, or empathise with them or have time for their problems
  • Focusing too much on others and trying to meet their needs to gain approval
  • Needing to be always perfect, and in everything you do
  • Poor performance in your work or studies
  • Avoiding challenging and difficult situations, which although it keeps you safe in the short term, can increase fears and reinforce self-doubt
  • Increase your vulnerability and risk of being dependent on alcohol, drugs, or nicotine as a way of coping.
How low self-esteem can impact your mental health

Low self-esteem can affect your ability to feel happy and make you more vulnerable to a number of mental health difficulties, and you may experience some of these:

 

  • Anxiety
  • Social anxiety disorder
  • Panic disorder
  • Stress
  • Depression
  • Eating disorders
  • Substance use
  • Risky behaviours
  • Suicidal ideation.

4 – Self-esteem Toolkit

You might find that the suggestions are too much for you now, and that is perfectly normal. Instead, you could set yourself a small achievable goal such as taking a moment in your day where you try not to compare yourself to others. Take it slowly – even the smallest steps can make a difference and help you on your journey of healing.

There are a number of ways to develop your self-esteem. Different people find different things helpful, and it may be that you will need to try a few different things until you find what works best for you. The first step to improving self esteem is your willingness to change some of the behaviours that affect your self-esteem, along with your thinking and mindset. This may feel very difficult but can be overcome with the right support.

For those managing living with Dissociative Identity Disorder (DID), you might find that you need to take steps back to absolute basics to develop routines that work for you. This may feel frustrating, but everyone is different and progress that is built slowly is more likely to be achievable. Remember – you have what it takes to succeed. Click here to read more about DID in the Dissociation section of our website.

Identify the triggers of your self-esteem

It can help to identify the triggers that cause your self-esteem to plummet. It helps to link these to the causes of your self-esteem to have a better understanding of how past experiences might have contributed to your low self-esteem, and how they can be triggered in the present. These can include:

 

  • Feeling judged or criticised
  • Feeling rejected or abandoned
  • Dealing with a difficult friend, family member or partner
  • Feeling a failure because you did not achieve your expectation of yourself, or the expectations of others
  • Performing poorly on a task such as presentation
  • Facing a challenging life event such as the end of a relationship, job loss or house move
  • Seemingly uncontrollable, recurring negative self-talk
  • Feeling anxious, stressed or depressed.
Becoming aware of negative thought patterns and beliefs

It is also helpful to become more aware of any negative thought patterns, negative self-talk and negative self-beliefs you have, and to try and challenge these. It can help to do this with a trusted friend where possible and be patient with yourself. You could try some of the following:

  • Reality-check your thoughts and beliefs to see if there is any evidence for them, and to what extent they are objective and consistent with facts
  • Check the accuracy of your interpretations of events and what people think of you
  • Try to stand back and evaluate your negative thoughts and emotions to help adjust your mindset
  • Try to focus on the positive aspects of all situations and be willing to relabel your experiences
  • Try to think or frame things more positively
  • Forgive yourself and any mistakes you may have made. Remember no one is perfect and everyone makes mistakes – this is part of being human.

Remember: you have the power to change your thought patterns and beliefs and improve your self-esteem.

Identify your negative self-thoughts and self-beliefs

To build healthy self-esteem, it can help to identify the negative beliefs you have about yourself, then challenge them. These could include thoughts such as “I’m a failure” or “I’m unlovable”. As you begin to recognise the negative self-thoughts and self-beliefs that contribute to low self-esteem, you can counter them or change the way you think about them. This will help you accept your value as a person. Over time you will find that you are able to reappraise old patterns of thinking and beliefs, as well as new situations and experiences. You will also be able to check your thoughts for any biases more easily. This will help you to navigate your world with more realistic appraisals and not be restricted by negative biases that serve to undermine your self-esteem and self-worth. As your self-esteem increases, your confidence and sense of wellbeing are also likely to improve.

To help you identify your internal critical voice, start by:
  • Noticing any negative thoughts and negative self-talk you practice
  • Writing down all the negative messages you tell yourself
  • Reflect on these and note when you first started to think and feel this way about yourself
  • Next, say one of these out loud and be mindful of any sensations or emotions that arise in response to any critical statement. Then say something positive or comforting and reflect on how that feels. If there is a noticeable difference, try to balance or override negative self-talk with positive self-talk to fully aid recovery
  • Next, write down alternative thoughts which more accurately reflect reality and provide evidence that challenge these negative beliefs and refer to these when the negative thoughts preoccupy you. As you write down the evidence for and against negative thoughts or beliefs, you can begin to consider alternative ways of thinking
  • Before adopting the alternative thoughts into practice, it helps to consider “What is the worst that can happen if I adopt this alternative thought or belief?” and “How would I cope if the worst happened?”. By exploring your fears around changing negative thinking you will be able to anticipate obstacles and prepare for the management of alternative thoughts. Take time to do this for each negative thought and belief and remember to pace yourself when testing out alternative thoughts
  • To counterbalance the negative self-thoughts, write down some positive things about yourself such as “I’m a good friend” or “I’m a hard worker” or “I’m trustworthy”. This might be difficult initially, so it helps to include some good things that other people say about you, and then continue to build on these by regularly adding more things to the list
  • Keep your list somewhere such as on the fridge door, or store it on your mobile phone, where you can keep reminding yourself that you have value and are important
  • Alternatively, you can make a ‘cookie jar’. Each day take out one of the pieces of paper in the ‘cookie jar’ to remind yourself of your worth and value.
Reappraising Your Negative Self-thoughts and Self-beliefs

 

The more you are able to accept your positive qualities, the more you will be able to value yourself and repair or rebuild your self-esteem and develop a self-image that is based on a realistic evaluation of yourself rather than that imposed by others.

Some people find the tips explored in the video and listed below useful, but remember that different things work for different people at different times. Only try what you feel comfortable with and try not to put too much pressure on yourself. If something isn’t working for you (or doesn’t feel possible just now), you can try something else, or come back to it another time.

 

  • Avoid negative self-talk and challenge your negative self-thoughts and self-beliefs
  • Try to use more positive language and self-talk to describe yourself and practice positive affirmations
  • Replace self-criticism with self-compassion
  • Value yourself and affirm your self-worth. You could consider leaving notes around your home, in your workspace, handbag or backpack that affirm your self-worth and achievements
  • Identify your strengths and resources and focus on what you are good at – e.g. cooking, singing, doing puzzles, being a friend
  • Notice, and try to limit comparing yourself to others. Remember people do not always show their true selves. One way to minimise social comparison is to reduce your exposure to social media
  • Replace “I’m sorry” with more situationally appropriate statements such as “excuse me” or replacing sorry with “thank you” such as “thank you so much for your patience” when you are delayed, or have not responded sooner to a request, or email
  • Notice and reflect on good things
  • Learn to be more assertive
  • Learn to accept compliments
  • Practice self-acceptance by accepting who you are, including your strengths and weaknesses
  • Focus on what you can change and set manageable goals. Make a list of your goals and priorities so that these do not get derailed by other people’s needs, demands or requests
  •  Set yourself challenges that are realistically achievable as achieving your goals will help increase your self-esteem
  • Be kind to yourself and gentle to yourself at times when you feel like being self-critical. Think what you would say to a friend in a similar situation
  • Celebrate your accomplishments, both the big and the small achievements, and reward yourself. A good way to reward yourself is to make a ‘reward box’ in which you place small treats to celebrate your accomplishments. These could include chocolate treats, a scented candle, a new bath product, a book or favourite magazine, or handwritten vouchers made out to you to trade in such as treating yourself to an experience such as a massage, having a meal out with friends or going to the cinema or a special day out
  • Practice gratitude and keep a gratitude journal
  • Act with integrity and do what you know is right
  • Look after yourself by prioritising your needs and practicing self-care including
    exercise, healthy diet, sleep, rest and time for pleasure and joy

  •  Reclaiming pleasure and joy by doing things that make you feel good and find ways to relax, unwind and pamper yourself
  •  Forgive yourself. Remember everyone makes mistakes, no-one is perfect
  •  Set boundaries and be able to say “no” without feeling guilty. Pause before automatically saying “yes” to a request and ask yourself: “Am I saying yes because this is something I actually want to do or just so this person will like me/need me/approve of me?” Sometimes it can be helpful to give yourself time to consider a request and say: “Let me come back to you on this”
  • Build a supportive network and spend time with people who make you feel good and appreciate you, and who you can trust. This can include family or friends, as well as a professional such as your counsellor or key worker. Make sure you speak to at least one person for at least five minutes every day. If you find it hard to trust people, then find other sources of trust such as animals or nature
  •  Volunteer to help others
  •  Find support for other difficulties you are experiencing such as anxiety or depression.

Video – Self-compassion – YouTube

Click here to watch The School of Life’s animation on how to act with more self-compassion and be kinder to ourselves.

Please note: This link will take you away from The Survivors Trust Resources website. The link is being provided for informational purposes only. The Survivors Trust bears no responsibility for any advertising content shown on external websites and videos.

 

Click here for a guide on how to clear your YouTube browsing history.

Useful exercises:

Central to building self-esteem and self-confidence is to celebrate your strengths and accomplishments. A good way to do this is to make a ‘cookie jar’. To make a ‘cookie jar’, write down positive things about yourself on small strips of paper. These could include your positive qualities, compliments people have paid you or your accomplishments and achievements. Find a nice jar or container, or customise an old jam jar. Roll each strip of paper into a ball and place inside your ‘cookie jar’. Whenever you want to reward yourself, or remind yourself of positive things in your life, take out a ball of paper and read out loud what it says.

 

Engaging in enjoyable activities that give pleasure, joy and meaning to your life can help build self-esteem. For instance, if you felt silenced as a child then sing, shout, or scream. If you were constrained then move around, dance or swim. If you were prevented from playing, find a hobby that allows you to play, or spend time with friends in fun activities. Or if you were isolated, try to seek out and develop friendships. If you find it hard to trust people, then find other sources of trust such as animals or nature. 

 

Make a list of pleasurable activities you enjoy, including good people you like to be around. Also list the treats that you find positively rewarding and nurturing. Try to include calming and soothing as well as invigorating and stimulating activities, alongside inspirational and creative ones. You could also reclaim a hobby or passion you had in childhood and pursue this again. Make a commitment to build these into your weekly schedule of self-care. 

 

Remember: singing, talking, and writing is a way of reclaiming your voice. Laughing is a way of reconnecting with others.

In reclaiming positive aspects of your life, it helps to identify all the things that you have in your life for which you are grateful. This will form the basis of your ‘gratitude journal’. Research has shown that keeping a ‘gratitude journal’ can improve happiness and satisfaction. It also enables you to make a conscious effort to ‘savour’ all the beauty and pleasure in your daily life, no matter how small.

 

The purpose of a gratitude journal is to encourage you to reflect on things in your life that you feel gratitude for. To write a ‘gratitude journal’, divide a section in your journal, or find a new small notebook in which to record all the things in your life for which you are grateful. This could include your health, your children, your friends, your family, your pets, as well as the things you appreciate in life, such as nature, to help you become more conscious of the good things in your life. Make time to listen to the sound of birdsong or the rustle of leaves, to notice the shimmer of sunshine or autumn leaves bursting into colour or breathe in the tang of fresh air. You could also consider writing a gratitude letter to someone important in your life, past or present, even if they are not alive, who you have never properly thanked.

 

Becoming more consciously aware of the good things in your life not only helps you to stay in the present but also reminds you that you are a part of something bigger. This can go a long way to making you feel good about being alive. Allowing positive things into your life will not take away or make up for the abuse or assault that you have experienced, but it will re-balance your life.

 

Keeping a weekly record of all the good things in your life and your achievements will provide evidence of your recovery and post-traumatic growth. It will make you more appreciative of your life which will help you to manage setbacks. And while you may not be 100% free of trauma reminders, your recovery and growth will help you to bounce back more quickly and allow you to feel thankful for the gift of life.

 

There are a number of ways that you can keep a gratitude journal. You can write long, descriptive paragraphs about what you appreciate in your daily life, or you can make lists.

 

It is important to choose what works for you in terms of how frequently you use it. Some people write something every day, while others write something several times a week. Remember to make it work for you.

 

Tip: every day before going to sleep recount three good things that have happened that day.

Replacing negative self-talk with positive self-talk

It takes time to rebuild your self-esteem and self-confidence. Practice being more aware of your negative self-thoughts and self-talk and challenge these with positive affirmations and self-talk. List examples of your recurring negative self-talk in the first column and try and replace these with positive self-talk statements. The box below gives you some ideas of how you might do this. Try to repeat the positive self-affirmations on a daily basis, or put them into your cookie jar, so that can change your internal dialogue.

 

Treatment for low self-esteem

Although low self-esteem is not considered to be a mental health condition, there is help available. You can talk to your GP who can refer you to counselling or psychological therapies in your area.

Talking therapies such as cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) can help you change the thought patterns that contribute to low self-esteem and boost your confidence and opinion of yourself and your abilities, and learn to better see and appreciate yourself for who you are.

You could also find a private therapist. Make sure they’re registered with a professional body.

Your GP could also refer you for treatment for other mental health problems that are associated with low self-esteem such as anxiety and depression.

5 – Useful Resources for Self-esteem

Useful contacts

The Survivors Trust

www.thesurvivorstrust.org

Umbrella agency for over 120 member organisations which provide specialist support to men, women and children who are survivors of sexual violence.
Helpline: 08088 010818

 

Do-it
www.do-it.org
Lists UK volunteering opportunities.

 

Mind
www.mind.org.uk
Charity for mental health. Mind has a website and helplines that provide information by phone and email.
Helpline: 0300 123 3393; info@mind.co.uk

 

Local Minds
www.mind.org.uk/about-us/local-minds
Offer face-to-face services including talking therapies, peer support and advocacy across England and Wales.

 

Side by Side
www.sidebyside.mind.org.uk
Supportive online community where you can feel at home talking about your mental health and connect with others who understand what you are going through.

 
Mind Recovery Net

www.mindrecoverynet.org.uk
Publishes information on recovery colleges, including a searchable list of providers.

 

Mind Tools
www.mindtools.com/blog

Tips and articles on personal effectiveness, management and leadership.

 

The National Association for People Abused in Childhood (NAPAC)
www.napac.org.uk
Supports adult survivors of any form of childhood abuse. Offers a helpline, email support and local services.
Helpline: 0808 801 0331; support@napac.org.uk

 

NHS
www.nhs.uk
Information about mental health and access to an apps library.

 

NHS Every Mind Matters
www.nhs.uk/every-mind-matters/
Tips and resources to help improve your health and wellbeing.

 

Reading Well
www.reading-well.org.uk
A series of self-help books to help you understand and manage your health and wellbeing.

 

The Richmond Fellowship
www.richmondfellowship.org.uk
Mental health charity that champions recovery and social inclusion, including a number of regional services.

 

Samaritans
www.samaritans.org
Samaritans are open 24/7 for anyone who needs to talk. You can visit some Samaritans branches in person. Samaritans also have a Welsh Language Line on 0808 164 0123 (7pm–11pm every day).
Helpline: 116 123; jo@samaritans.org

 

Time to Change
www.time-to-change.org.uk (England)
www.timetochangewales.org.uk (Wales)
National campaign to end stigma and discrimination against people with mental health problems in England and Wales. The campaign for England ended in 2021, but its resources are still available online.

Books
  • Burgo, J (2018). Shame: Free yourself, find joy and Build True self-esteem. Watkins
  • Burgo, J (2020). Building Self Esteem: How learning from Shame helps to grow self-esteem. New Rise Press
  • Sanderson, C (2016). The Warrior Within 3rd Edition. One in Four.