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HSTAR: A token of hope for trauma survivors

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When we are going through hell, we need support, we need hope. We need to know that healing is possible and that there are people out there who want to play a part in that healing, to guide us on a path that best serves ourselves.

It will be no surprise to you to learn that support services for women who have suffered trauma and abuse are staggering low, and as far as a safe place to go is concerned, there are very few. Until Healed Scars was founded by Ewelina Chin in August 2020 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic.

A new charity was established in October 2021 and it is now called Healed Scars HSTAR Scotland, also known as Healed Scars Trauma and Abuse Recovery. Ewelina recognised that the restrictions of the pandemic were having a major impact on those who had suffered from trauma, as it presented new frightening challenges such as seeking support or refuge and brought up PTSD symptoms from past traumas.

Credit: localliving.org

Ewelina is an experienced and qualified accountant, a soft skills coach, and not to mention a very down to earth, kind hearted woman, which makes her a fitting individual to take on such courageous and impactful work.

What makes her position as the founder and co-ordinator of Healed Scars Charity so profound is that she herself is a survivor of trauma and abuse – Ewelina told Brig she “felt a persistent calling throughout this time to bring her passion, energy and unique vision to the creation of services that would recognise the distinct interface and the differences between being a victim and the transition to becoming and being a survivor.”

The main purpose of Healed Scars HSTAR is to be able to offer “free access to non-judgemental therapies” and advocacy support to women in Scotland who have suffered trauma and/or abuse at any stage in their life, regardless of any factors.

Ewelina told Brig:

“We offer a range of services throughout the community to raise awareness of all factors of trauma and abuse, to offer support to those who may be impacted, choosing the therapy that will work best for the individual, working together towards empowering and supporting women and improving their mental and physical well-being.”

HSTAR services support and reflect the diversity of women and the services that they work alongside and all of their services are accessible, inclusive and focussed on supporting women overcome fear, loneliness, stigma, and dealing with life in general.

They offer therapies to help relieve the trauma, distress and isolation that women face when trying to recover from traumatic past experiences. Mental well-being is severely impacted by trauma and abuse and can lead to future mental health issues too, but therapeutic intervention offered by HSTAR Scotland has shown conclusively that it improves mental health care and well-being massively for those affected by trauma.

Daytime and evening appointment are available with HSTAR, they offer face-to-face sessions in Stirling Aberdeen, Glasgow and Edinburgh but most of their therapists offer virtual appointments to. 

Womensissuecentre.com

Not only do Healed Scars provide free counselling but they also offer employability coaching, trauma informed parenting courses, grief and bereavement group coaching, mindfulness and yoga online classes, trauma sensitive budgeting workshops, advocacy support, which includes nutritional support.

The Advocacy clinic runs in the Stirling office every Saturday morning 10am-12pm.

HSTAR are a very inclusive charity, who are not discriminatory of any factors. They have been supporting women from BAME minority groups, women suffering from HIV and AIDS and those who identify as part of the LGBTQ+ community. They also offer therapies in English, Urdu, Punjabi, Spanish, Guajarati, Russian, Polish, Arabic, Syrian, Mandarin and Chinese.

Ewelina wanted to tell Brig about some of the ways in which HSTAR has grown since it was founded.

She said:

“The number of people using the services has grown, the number of referrals from other charities and organisations has increased, the amount of services we are delivering, the number of partnerships it has developed with organisations across Forth Valley and Scotland, and it has continued to grow in its reputation and the level of recognition it is receiving for the creative services it delivers and the positive impact and successful impact it has on the women and their children’s lives.”

This charity has become a lifeline for so many across the Forth Valley area and has had a really positive impact on so many groups.

HSTAR have developed a close partnership working with Mosques in Stirling, Falkirk and Clackmannanshire and the Stirling Refugee Settlement. They have a close relationship with many of the local schools and a programme with Stirling University where they provide a valuable learning placement for five students each term. As their partnerships continue to grow, HSTAR are working with NHS Forth Valley services including GP services, Stirling Council, Stirling and Glasgow Women’s Aid and Police Scotland.

Ewelina said:

“HSTAR are providing the tools and support that are vital to overcoming trauma and trauma related issues and enabling women to become stronger, more confident individuals.

Our services focus on the period of women rebuilding their lives and taking their lives back into their hands by delivering services that promote cohesive interagency working and partnership by putting women at the heart.”

Credit: @HealedScars

HSTAR are always looking for volunteers to join their team.

Ewelina told Brig:

“We are looking for openminded young people who understand the importance of healing and overcoming trauma. We are happy to invite empath students who would like to share their skills, great energy and a little bit of time.”

Healed Scars Trauma and Abuse Recovery is an incredible charity doing an astoundingly valuable job and having a huge impact on so many lives. It is a charity that so many are grateful for and sadly, so many need. So it would be great if you could have a look at all the amazing work they have done and are continuing to do and expand everyday and show a little support.

To access these services please see: https://hstar-scotland.org/

Feature image credit: Healed Scars Scotland

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