Rebuilding self-belief after bullying

Aisha was bullied and exploited by a friend (colleague at work) which caused her to lose confidence and lowered her trust in people “all round”. As a result she had become extremely guarded and was struggling to let anyone get close to her, which was impacting on her day to day life. “They used me and I went above and beyond for them. They used me for lifts, babysitting, financial support, everything. Then they would ignore me, and it got so bad I couldn’t go on and it caused me to leave my work.”

When we first met her, she was experiencing continuous anxiety and dizziness, and was very stressed. She had been given a Blood Pressure monitor to check her blood pressure and heart beat as she was very concerned about her health decline. This has made things much worse in her words and “paranoid”, becoming very worried about herself, the future and the perceived dangers in the world around her. She had developed a phobia of going into large shopping centres or crowded places. She felt she had lost her value as a person and “went into a deep depression trying to understand what to do and how to get over this”. She felt she had become very withdrawn and this was affecting every aspect of her life, from her family and her marriage, to her job which she had enjoyed.

We started slowly with lots of telephone encouragement, until she felt comfortable to start attending face-to-face sessions. Together we started introduce tools and techniques to support Humaira to feel more in control and reduce her anxiety. Our sessions were client led, going at the pace that matched with them she felt safe and ready to talk about things, and respecting what was still too painful or anxiety inducing to discuss. This helped her manage her fears and prevent any panic attacks as a coping strategy she created with our support. We were able to identify her triggers which enabled her to take back control. “I can see. I realise now what triggers me the most. It’s my past and I need to find a way to move forwards. I am here and now, I need to remember to breath and only do what I feel comfortable with. I know there is no rush and it takes time thanks to the team. “

Having structured support from a professional has been crucial for her “ it’s hard to open up to family and I just shut down. I feel like they don’t understand. You just let me be me.”  As her ability to trust others and her confidence has grown her circumstances have improved with each positive step. She went from only engaging over the phone, to face-to-face sessions, to taking part in group activities and now has successfully applied for and been offered employment. Within our sessions we continue to talk about maintaining the progression we have made. She continues to keep a diary to manage triggers and day to day life, helping to reduce anxiety and support planning her day. This is then also used as a successful reflection tool and take learning forward.  Anxiety is still high for her, but with the support of her employer and the IFA employment brokerage team we are working to resolve these together.

“I have been on holiday. I really enjoyed spending time with my husband and looking forward to coming back to a fresh start. Since coming I feel more confident and more relaxed. I am not so anxious. I trust you.”


Delivery Partners

Mental Health Support Service - Sandwell

Supporting Sandwell residents who are struggling with their mental health to have choice and control over their support options (e.g. counselling, peer support, culturally relevant support).

From March 2022 - May 2023, we supported 359 Sandwell residents who were struggling with their mental health to have choice and control over their support options (e.g. counselling, peer support, culturally relevant support).

Project Funded By:


Our partners

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