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Counselling and Support during the COVID-19 crisis -20th March 2020

Service Update

Our John Street office is now closed for any face to face work due to COVID 19. We are still operating a minimal phone service for incoming calls between the hours of 9:00 and 4:30.

You can email us at: office@sunderlandcounselling.org.uk

COVID-19 Concerns

Since the outbreak of COVID-19 has taken hold, both globally and in the UK, we have entered a period that is unchartered and uncertain. Many people will feel anxiety about catching the virus, the wellbeing of their family, friends and work colleagues. They may also worry about their jobs security, finances, childcare and how they might manage if they are required to self-isolate.

For some people who have existing mental health problems these very real concerns may feel much worse and might exasperate existing symptoms.

The World Health Organisation has provided some welcome guidelines for managing distress during this difficult time:


  • Avoid listening to, watching or reading the news if it causes you to feel anxious or distressed.
  • Seek information only to help you to take positive actions to prepare and protect yourself and loved ones
  • Seek information updates at specific times, maybe once or twice during the day

Take positive actions to look after your own wellbeing, don’t ignore your anxiety but try and do something that you can control:

  • Stay connected with the people you care about
  • Catch up with things you have been meaning to do in the house or garden
  • Read a book, watch a boxed set, listen to music, cook
  • Practice Mindfulness, this can help you stay connected to the ‘Here and now’ rather than catastrophizing. – There are apps you can download onto your phone (For example: Headspace, Calm)

Mind recommends:


  • Paying attention to your diet and hydration levels
  • Exercise – currently a brisk walk or cycle at a distance from others is still an option
  • Continue to access sunlight and nature, get out in your garden or yard, if possible.

For further information on the Coronavirus please see the link below:


Counselling for Adult Survivors of Sexual Violence and Abuse

Who is the service for?

Men and women over the age of 18 from the Sunderland area, who have experienced sexual abuse, rape or sexual violence, either in childhood or as an adult, and who are looking for support to address the impact of their experiences.

We also work with men from South Tyneside and Gateshead who have experienced childhood sexual abuse or rape or any form of sexual assault in adulthood.

Our clients often come to us with problems such as flashbacks and intrusive memories of the abuse, panic and anxiety, depression, low self-confidence, difficulty concentrating and issues in relationships.

What does the service offer?

Free, confidential, face to face, individual counselling from qualified and specially trained counsellors.  You can ask to be seen by either a male or female counsellor as you prefer.

Our counsellors are all specifically trained to work with sexual violence issues.  We provide our clients with an understanding, accepting and non-judgmental counselling relationship, within which clients can explore and share feelings associated with their traumatic experiences. We help clients to identify support mechanisms and choices, build self-confidence and work towards their goals.  The number of sessions a client may have varies according to need, so that we can respond to each client’s individual issues.

What do we need from clients?

There are no restrictions around when the abuse took place or if there was police involvement.

Sessions will usually be weekly with the same counsellor and it is important that clients feel able to commit to regular attendance.

Counselling can often be difficult and painful and our counsellors are there to support clients through this process.

Where does counselling take place?

Much of our counselling takes place at our main office at 51 John Street, Sunderland SR1 1QN.  Please note that both male and female clients and staff use this building. For clients who live in South Tyneside and Gateshead we will identify a suitable venue to provide counselling.

If you would like to find out more about this service or make a referral please see the “How do I refer?” section of this website or call us on 0191 514 7007

Todays News

February 2019

Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence
Independent Accreditation Programme

News today from Lime Culture that Sunderland Counselling Service has been successful in applying for a  funded place to participate in the Independent Accreditation Programme for the Quality Standards for Services Supporting Male Victims/Survivors of Sexual Violence in 2019.

The Independent Accreditation Programme is delivered by LimeCulture CIC. The programme will award a Quality Mark to services that demonstrate they meet the Quality Standards through a robust and independent accreditation process of documentary evidence review, interviews and site visits.

The Quality Standards create a framework and benchmark that can be used to develop and improve service provision for male victims/survivors, in particular recognising their gender-based needs.

There are 24 Quality Standards across four domains; Leadership & Governance, Access & Engagement, Service Delivery and Outcomes & Evaluation. They set out the expectations of the organisation’s leadership, staff and also the client experience.


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My Story

I am a girl with no cares in the world,
I’ve got a son who makes me so proud.
Happy as can be,
no worries I can see.
I love my boy,
playing with his toys.
One day we went out,
to have fun, seldge about.
This is when it happens, its not very nice,
we were sledging down a hill when we bumped in the ice.
I was very hurt,
my boy was a star!
There was no one in sight, not even a car.
He cuddled me close,
made me count to three.
I broke my back,
Thought that was it for me!
My family was there,
full of care.
The love they gave me, made me see,
I was still alive, death was not for me!
Days went by, they were dark and dim,
I didn’t want to let anybody in.
Months went by, and I did cry
I felt so scared, before this I was never shy!
I started to feel alone,
I went cold as a stone.
The pain hurt so much, it was really ruff,
I pushed people away and took it tough.
I wanted to be normal, take my boy on a bike ride,
but my back wouldn’t let me so instead I lay in my bed and cried.
My family were there every day
wishing they could take my pain away.
From an independent lady,
to a sole with no dignity.
Couldn’t wash my hair,
feels like everybody stare’s.
A dark cloud was hovering over me,
but I felt nobody could see!
I realise now this was called depression,
and now thankfully I’ve learned a lesson.
There are people out there who really care.
I was upset, I was down,
but I fell I’m turning around.
Its still a fight,
but I can see the light!
So if you feel confused / not amused,
be strong like me, and you will see your dignity.
I’m getting better that’s why I’m writing this letter.

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