Mental Health & Wellbeing Support
With the changes in the seasons and the true impact of Covid-19 on our health and wellbeing only now beginning to surface, this month on CLiCK Cast we focus on how the coronavirus pandemic has impacted on the mental health and wellbeing of women who sell or exchange sex. With that in mind, we would like to share some info on where you can get help.
Many of us have struggled with our mental health during lockdown, and many of us are only feeling the impacts now as we stumble around trying to figure out “normality”. We have been concerned for friends and family, worried about contracting the virus, adjusting to rules, regulations and restrictions on our usual lives. We have been thrown into roles of full-time teachers and stay-at-home parents, often while also working from home. We now worry that our children may catch it at school, that we may have to self-isolate and that the virus doesn’t seem to be going anywhere any time fast. We have felt alone, isolated and disconnected from the people we care about and sources of support. Even with all of that in the mix, our experiences have been many and varied, with some feeling the impact more than others.
For women who sell or exchange sex, incomes vanished overnight, leaving many unable to put food on the table or keep up with rent, mortgage or energy bill payments. Some women were able to move online, but with the saturation of that market, earning a meaningful income is not an easy process. For some, it meant an unplanned break or exit from selling or exchanging sex and for others it has meant being trapped inside with abusive partners or becoming static targets for ex-partners and stalkers.
For women who continued to see clients face-to-face, there was and continues to be added pressure and concerns around being exposed to the virus, as well as feeling more exposed to neighbours due to everyone being at home more. Women selling or exchanging sex online face difficulties juggling this with childcare/home life, as well as the saturation of the market potentially leading to a reduction in income, as well as clients pushing boundaries and a consistent pressure to create new content.
This sort of pressure, instability and lack of access to resources, along with all of the others caused by the virus, can really impact on our mental health and wellbeing.
Many women who sell or exchange sex have demonstrated their resilience, developing or relying upon existing strategies for self-care and survival. However, there are others for whom this does not go far enough. We would like to highlight some services out there which can provide some help and support during this time of uncertainty and continued stress.
If you are a woman with lived experience, you can reach out to us here at CLiCK.
Here at CLiCK we can offer emotional support and support and advocacy to
tie in with local mental health services. We offer confidential webchat sessions :
MONDAY: 11AM-1PM & 4PM-6PM
TUESDAY: 11AM-1PM & 4PM-6PM
THURSDAY: 11AM-1PM & 3PM-7PM
And Our helpline on 0300 124 5564 is open:
Our Together Alone project also offers some resources and an exploration of self-care.
You can contact Samaritans via
phone on 116 123. This service is available 24 hours a day, email them at firstname.lastname@example.org or write them a letter
Breathing Space is a confidential phoneline for anyone in Scotland over the age of 16, feeling low, anxious or depressed. Their number is 0800 83 85 87 and they are open -
Weekdays: Monday-Thursday 6pm to 2am
Weekend: Friday 6pm-Monday 6am
Umbrella Lane who are a peer led sex worker organisation have linked with Wellbeing Scotland to provide counselling sessions
You can also speak to your local GP if you feel comfortable to see what options there are for mental health support for you locally