Sharing our story can be very powerful and help others on their journey. If we have supported you on your journey please share your story with us.

A personal account from a parent

It was great to meet you and hopefully give you some valuable feedback! To keep my story as short as possible my daughter from the age of 14 wasn’t coping with school and found it difficult to make any friends! She was running away from home a lot! Self harming, smoking,taking drugs, hanging around with the wrong type of people! She tried to take her life a couple of times! We were referred to Camhs! They were useless! Blaming it on us as parents and not getting to the root of the problem!We had 3 social workers who didn’t really help the situation! She was first admitted to chalk hill hospital but as it was a open unit she was able to come and go as she pleased! And ended up overdosing! And then got admitted to the priory in ticehurst where she was diagnosed with mental health issues asd/adhd and was kept there up to 9 months! She is now 18 living independently but has her good days and bad days! She is now having therapy through st Mary’s house and is on mood stabilisers.

Nicola McCarthy

Stigma is a double-headed beast, existing as public and self-stigma. Engagement with negative attitudes (prejudice) and/or adverse behaviour (discrimination) is known as public stigma. Self-stigma is how the individual sees their own mental health often from a warped perspective.

It was self-stigma that affected me most. It crept up on me so silently that for such a long time I didn’t even realise it was happening. In fact, I was the last one to acknowledge it.

My ingrained work ethic just told me to work harder and harder and harder despite my growing mountain of self-doubt, anxiety and negative self-worth. Any sort of failure just wasn’t possible. I had judged myself and found myself to be lacking against what I thought society expected.

Unconsciously, I had entered a self-destructive cycle of hiding the truth.

Inevitably, my bouts of depression and my inability to recharge finally overwhelmed me and I had a nervous breakdown requiring medication and hospitalisation. I was discharged from hospital full of theory and exercises but didn’t buy-in, I still felt shame and guilt at admitting to not being well.

Things continued as before, and guess what? Fast forward several years and I had a bigger, more debilitating breakdown. This time it was different, I couldn’t put my previous episodes down to life distress or a one-off never to be repeated circumstance. I was ill.

For the first time ever, I availed of one-to-one counselling. Most significantly, I began to talk to others around me about what was currently happening and what had occurred in the past. This is still part of my recovery today, in fact, I now need to watch that I don’t over share and listen more than I talk!

I had put myself on a bumpy road while all along there was an easier way, but I wasn’t open to acknowledging I needed help. I now know and promote that “its OK not to be OK”.


I first contacted Holding Space to discuss the deteriorating behaviour of my five year old granddaughter. She was becoming fearful that life would never be the same, the virus would never go away and was prone to break into tears at will. In addition she started to do unusual things (for her) such as draw on the walls of her Mothers house.

Holding Space came up with some simple bePersohavioural tips that were easy to implement by us and her Mum. These included looking at her drawings, encouraging her to talk and to really listen to what she said. She has a great knack of making up songs and when we listened to her it was clear she was singing about her mindset at the time. Likewise Holding Space recommended some great reading material for us to use with her.

Simply put we went from a worried and concerned thought process into a series of actions that gave us a plan to support our granddaughter through these troubling times.


Back in early 2020 I was put in contact with Hansa from holding space with regards to my then 8 year old son. The pandemic had taken its toll on him and as a parent I was at a loose end not knowing what else I could do to help and support him. He wouldn’t go out of the house, sleep alone, kept lashing out and at its very worse said he didn’t want to live anymore. The team and support I received was overwhelming. I was offered the support I needed to be able to support my son. Referred to resources like books and had calls from the team regularly. Can I just add the recommended books for anxiety/worry were fabulous. I highly recommend getting in contact with the team if you or anyone has any concerns they are so approachable and happy to work with you. I’m pleased to say a year on I no longer need their services and my son is the kindest most loving boy again. He is back to sleeping in his own room and we have had no issues of anger in the last 3 months. Huge thank you to you all.

Jessicca Davies

Here is my journey, with anxiety and mental health.

I started struggling when I left school as I was the year that didn’t sit the GSCE’s and I didn’t see any of my friends, I started college and it was a struggle as it was online some weeks and in college some weeks, which was a struggle as I wasn’t sure what was going on things would change last minute.

Once I started second year this is when it really hit me, as I was having to go into college every day and I was sick every morning and needed someone to drive me to Bexhill as I wouldn’t get on the train. I wouldn’t stay in college for the whole lesson and I frequently was crying as I didn’t want to be there as it was all too overwhelming as there were to many people there and the adjustment between school and college was huge, as I was being treated like an adult, teachers had names and weren’t sir or miss, St Richards is a very strict school with a lot of rules and to go from that environment to college life was massive. I wouldn’t leave my mums side, I would cry and worry over absolutely everything, I would check my timetable constantly as I was scared that it would change and that I would go to the wrong classroom. My mum decided that I needed help and I agreed, she contacted Hansa at Holding space and she referred me to Brian and for approximately 12 weeks I was hypnotised so that the conversation was had with my sub conscious and slowly, things were beginning to get better I wasn’t sick any more I could go by train, college were helping, and I could see that I was getting better.

I do still have wobbles however I can now use the coping mechanisms that I was taught.

I want to say thank you to Hansa and the team at holding space.


I was told about Holding Space by a very good friend as we are supporting our son with anxiety leading to difficulties in him attending school and leading to social isolation and a sense of failing as a parent. Holding Space arranged for me to access counselling which literally provided me with the ‘space’ to explore how best to support our son whilst looking at self-care strategies to give me the strength and ability to continue to be able to support him and the wider family. I cannot thank them enough for their empathy, compassion and constructive advice and support at a time it was most needed.


  • It has been really helpful to help identify/name our son’s specific anxieties and to consider/find ways to sit with these and in some cases shift them. This has helped dissipate the anxieties held within the family unit. This helps massively with day to day survival/life/enjoyment. I can imagine most families with a neurodiverse child would benefit from this approach. Actually probably most families with facing any particular challenge or difficulty. Annabel brings skill, patience, wisdom, warmth, knowledge and flexibility to her role. She has a helpful inquiring approach.Thank you to Annabel and the Holding Space team for all your hard work. Annalise and Trevor
  • A priceless safety net to catch you when no one else will.
  • Anna was incredible she supported me at a very low point and made weekly contact just to check in and talk about how I was feeling. She was a huge help just when I needed someone the most.
  • The speed at which I was contacted in crisis and the caring and knowledgeable information and advice given.
  • Hansa is amazing. She really cares about every individual and has so much knowledge and experience. Two things have helped so far, the coffee mornings and the counselling, but I have also made use of Facebook and had 1:1 support from Hansa.
  • The team were AVAILABLE to help and talk, when going through traditional (GP/CAHMS) routes felt like we were getting nowhere. They really cared and offered fantastic advice and were able to provide details of local therapists that could help us in a pretty quick timescale.
  • Hansa’s kindness was immediately apparent and I felt supported from the beginning. It’s very difficult when you see your child struggling and you feel powerless to help. Holding Space is exceptional and I am so grateful to have found them.
  • The friendliness and help – it’s so lovely to be put in touch with parents and people who really understand. Having SEN children can be so isolating, and this really helped me.
  • Everyone is so supportive and full of useful information and suggestions. Holding Space provides practical and useful support rather than just ‘go away and read a leaflet’ type of support.

7 Hyde Gardens, Eastbourne BN21 4PN

0132 3315 005

Registered Charity Number: 1194399