Supporting Our Clients: Mental Health And Domestic Abuse

It was a good session this week; we managed to provide some good outreach and signposting, which is great. The relationships that we have established with charities and statutory organisations can make a huge difference to an individual.

In total 43 people came in and received a hot meal. Which went down very well indeed. This week on the menu we had chicken and mushroom pie with a potato mash, corn on the cob, salad, coleslaw and potato salad. For dessert there was apple and plum crumble with custard and a lovely fresh fruit salad. We have crumble regularly but it is a good easy way to use all the fruit that is donated by the supermarkets and it is very popular. 

In our soup kitchen sessions, it is not uncommon for us to work with people who are living with domestic abuse. Where possible we signpost and work with the Statutory Agencies in order to help individuals, but breaking away from an abusive relationship is terribly difficult for many people.

What is domestic abuse?

Domestic abuse is as incident or pattern of incidents of day-to-day controlling, coercive, threatening, degrading and violent behaviour often including sexual violence within a relationship. In the majority of cases by a partner or ex-partner but also not unusual to be by a family member or carer. It is very common in the vast majority of cases that this horrendous treatment is experienced by women and perpetrated by men but we must always be aware that this can be the other way around or with same sex couples too. 

Domestic abuse can include, but is not limited to, the following:

  • Coercive control:  (intimidation, degradation, isolation and control with the use or threat of physical or sexual violence)
  • Psychological and/or emotional abuse 
  • Physical or sexual abuse
  • Financial and economic abuse, domestic servitude. 
  • Stalking and Harassment, this is following or use of mobile phones too. 
  • Online or digital abuse which has escalated with the use of mobile phones.

Any woman who needs to escape from domestic abuse can go into a refuge at any time.  It does not matter whether or not they are married to or living with their abuser, or whether or not they have children.

Usually a person in this situation will be terrified and very vulnerable.  However, refuges are highly unlikely to accept women from their immediate local area, as this is usually where they are most at risk. It is ideal to find a refuge away from their area and be a “safe” distance away from any areas where her abuser has connections.

Domestic abuse can have a long term and destructive impact upon individuals and families who are affected. 1 in 4 women in the UK are affected by domestic abuse at some stage in their lives, it is estimated that 2 women in England and Wales are killed every week by an abusive partner or former partner. 

Unfortunately many of our clients have experienced Domestic Abuse or sometimes trying to hide from an abuser. It is important for someone to be able to contact someone who can potentially help. It is imperative and an important warning that someone MUST cover their tracks to keep them safe while they are trying to leave. 

If you would like to talk to someone about domestic abuse you can also contact the National Domestic Abuse Helpline at any time on 0808 2000 247.

Can you help us?
We are looking for a welding company willing to take on a part time volunteer to be trained in order to gain experience and knowledge in the profession. This will give a person a chance to improve their employment future and general wellbeing. Thank you.

Some clients are desperate for help but do not know how to reach out to get it. They know that organisations are there but they often have a fear. We talk to many people especially who are drug users. They want to break away from the cycle and the hold that their drug or drugs of choice have on them. Many people are scared that sobriety opens up the fear of emotions and realisation that drug use has numbed for sometimes years. 

Addiction is often intertwined with other mental health issues, but this relationship doesn’t always have a clear directionality. For example, people who suffer from mood or anxiety disorders are almost twice as likely to also suffer from a substance use disorder, and people who suffer from substance use disorders are approximately twice as likely to also struggle with a mood or anxiety disorder. The relationship is strong either way. 

The longer an addiction lasts, the more stress and strain it puts on the individual. There is an overwhelming number of long-term physical and emotional effects addiction can have that can easily turn a healthy man or woman into a frail shadow of their former self. It affects every aspect of the physical body as well as the mental health side of it. 

The psychological distress associated with substance abuse and drug abuse can range from mild to serious. At any level of severity, this distress can have a profoundly negative impact on the life of an addict. The most common long-term mental health issues associated with drug abuse and addiction are: paranoia, depression and anxiety. These symptoms can affect the decision to get help and start the difficult road to become clean. 

The Community HOLT nurses are in on Thursday, and they have Mental Health Nurses too. We remind clients that have expressed an interest in seeing the nurses and try to engage others. The service is invaluable and we must remind people that they are in the Salvation Army Hall 4-5pm.  

Last week during our Saturday Soup Session in the Wharf we were especially busy. We provided a meal for 21 people in total. Colline from Colline’s Kitchen provided a vegetable pasta bake and Ali, one of our wonderful volunteers, picked up and delivered the newly arranged Saturday donation from Greggs, which comprised of sausage rolls and sandwiches for people to take away with them. This session has now been going nearly a year and is a huge success. Hot Soup, Pot Noodles a fresh Vegetarian Pasta Bake along with Tea and Coffee is very welcome, as many have not eaten since lunchtime Friday. The Greggs food will sustain them into the evening. Matthew from Greggs has been very supportive of Newbury Soup Kitchen and will help us as much as he can to accommodate our requirements. 


We are always in need of Pot Noodles as we give out many each week. These can be purchased through our Amazon Wishlist. This list is updated every week so it is always up to date. It caters for all budgets and helps us enormously to reach out to you, so you know what we require in order to help the clients we have who are in need. 


We need encourage people to donate and remember the homeless and rough sleepers all year around and not just through the festive period. The weather is turning colder and there are still people sleeping rough in our town. This can be done through our websiteThe Good Exchange, or Facebook and through our Amazon Wish list.  Thank you for all your support.