"I couldn’t understand my mental health and just needed answers"

Shazia, a 46 year old single mum, qualified for telephone counselling through her employment with a consultancy firm. She was amazed by the results and was so inspired that she is now training to be a counsellor herself.

“I was going through a difficult period in my life at the start of 2020 and I found myself really upset. I couldn’t understand my emotions and just needed answers.”

“The distress had become more intense by August 2020 and out of desperation, I decided to try counselling to see if it could help. If I’m being honest, I didn’t have high expectations.”

“I had six sessions and it was just amazing. I think it was just the experience of being able to tell someone for the first time how I felt. Just talking and learning how to manage everything.”

Shazia described how she was much more comfortable with phone counselling than she would have been with an in-person equivalent.

“I was very happy that it was over the phone. It was a difficult subject to talk about. I interact better behind a phone rather than face to face. I have always been that type of a person.”

“Keeping eye contact and having the presence of someone else in the room makes me feel as if I can’t truly open up. I was in my own room and felt more comfortable.”

Shazia, is also keen to encourage more Asian women and men to undergo counselling if they are struggling.

“I think there are some Asian families who want to keep their problems to themselves. They don’t want to disclose. It’s just buckle up and get on with it, that kind of attitude.”

“It’s even harder for Asian men. A male relative in my wider family was having a hard time and I suggested he should have some counselling. But he wasn’t keen. There is a cultural issue among some Asian men that counselling is for women.”

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