Support our Dream for a Helpline Service for Women & Girls

We believe that women and girls need a dedicated, free, confidential and non-judgemental helpline service. We ran this as a 4 month pilot in Manchester, but we've struggled to raise the funds to keep it going. Help us relaunch nationally.
RCN 1180442

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We believe that there is an urgent and unmet need for a women-only helpline to cater for-

1. Women who are not sure where to turn, or who havent the confidence to seek help.

2. Women who have experienced previous sexual violence or abuse and facing a new crisis.

3. Women are not accessing services because they are used primarily by men, are geographically too distant, or because women have other unavoidable commitments. An issue which is comprehensively covered in Mapping the Maze (see above) and impacts upon women facing multiple disadvantage.

4. Women who are experiencing a crisis, who dont necessarily have a mental illness, but who need support to help them navigate periods of extreme upset.

5. Women who do not feel able to use services because they are concerned they will lose custody of those they care for, ie women who worry that if they admit to say, addiction issues, their children will be removed. Women are often the prime, if not sole, carer in a family.

While there are mental health and crisis services available for men and women generally , and specific helplines for young people , for men and boys , for older people and for specific conditions , there isnt a helpline for women and girls. Those that do exist are particular in who or what they support i.e. mums, women suffering domestic/sexual violence or women experiencing specific medical or physical conditions.

Despite the huge changes in society in the last decades, there are still significant differences in the ways that men and women experience life in the UK. The prism of gender informs expectations, employment opportunities, pay, the services that are available to us, and messages about who we can be and should be as men and women daily embedded in the images, ads and stories we receive from the media. The #Metoo movement draws power from decades of injustice and resentment and from current inequalities it isnt just women in their 40s and 50s, but women in their 20s who are driving the campaign forwards.

The scale of mental health problems in women and girls in the UK is well documented. One in four women will require treatment for depression at some time. NHS statistics for 2016 show an increase in the number of women experiencing mental health problems, with one in five women reporting symptoms, and a quarter of 16-24 year-old women self-harming. NHS Digital report the number of girls under 18 who have needed hospital treatment after poisoning increased by 42% between 2005/6 and 2015/16. Post-natal depression affects between 8-15% of women after they have given birth. In 2016 suicide among women in their early twenties is at its highest level in two decades, with suicide rates highest in 45-49 year old women.

Women and girls are more likely to have responsibilities as carers than men and boys . Carers face mental ill health as a direct consequence of their caring role and experience higher rates of mental ill health than the general population.

Women and girls suffer disproportionate abuse, such as sexual violence, domestic violence, stalking and harassment, FGM (female genital mutilation), forced marriage and so-called honour-based violence, trafficking and prostitution, and abuse of women and girls in online spaces. The perpetrators are usually men. Womens further inequality as a result of wealth and social class, sexuality or gender identity, ethnicity, disability, and age, makes them more likely to experience violence and less likely to access justice and support. The impact of violence upon a woman's mental and emotional well-being can be profound and long lasting with research showing, for example, that 90% of women with substance use problems had experienced physical or sexual violence.

About the charity


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RCN 1180442
We believe there is a need for a free confidential helpline & webchat for women and girls, ages 13+ in the UK. Because women have specific needs and challenges. Staffed by women who will listen, provide non-judgemental support and guidance.

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