Waiting List Support North Devon

Waiting List Support in North Devon

Holding sessions whilst on the waiting list at SAND

The feelings that accompany the trauma of sexual abuse are extremely difficult to deal with on your own, and waiting for help can feel impossible. Especially after you have made that first step into asking for support and help.

We are aware of this and will try and alleviate any feelings of frustration by offering and suggesting the following:

SAND offers immediate support. Single-session therapy to those on our waiting list to receive specialist support and guidance.

These can be monthly low-cost appointments and will give you the time to talk freely and be heard and supported.

This is your time to say how you are feeling in a confidential, non-judgemental space. In these sessions we help equip you with the tools to process your emotions independently; to be in control, take a step forward, and set a goal for yourself. This is your time to say how you are feeling and what’s going on for you in your daily life, without judgment in a confidential space.

Please speak to Sarah about this on your referral on 07763617693.

What can you do to help yourself?

Waiting List Support North Devon

See Your GP or support worker

General practitioners rarely specialise in mental health or therapy, but it is a good idea to keep appointments going, especially if you have a long wait on a waiting list to see one of our specialist counsellors. Primary care doctors can rule out any underlying conditions that may be affecting your mental state and prescribe psychiatric medication, if necessary. They may also refer you to a mental health provider with availability. Keep us informed of any progress around this as we will support you in any lifestyle changes.

Naturopathic doctors are another option to explore. They can recommend diet changes, perform physical exams, and order blood work to identify vitamin deficiencies and other scenarios. Please keep an eye on our THRIVE (link) development as we open up options for alternative support.

Keep your options open.

If you are open to trying online or phone support this can help you to reduce any waiting time.

Self- Care Whilst on the counselling Waitlist

There are several actions you can take while waiting to start therapy to cope with your mental health symptoms and prepare for treatment:

Plan What Questions to ask

First, make sure that the time is right for you and we are the right organisation. This minimises the chances of being dissatisfied with your counselling experience and possibly having to start the process over again.

Think of any questions to ask once your counselling journey has started:

  • Which therapeutic techniques and modalities do you use most often?
  • Do you ever switch modalities mid-treatment if one approach is not working?
  • Are you trauma informed?
  • What (if anything) forces you to break confidentiality?
  • How do you handle a crisis?
  • How long does therapy typically last?
  • What happens if I miss a session?
  • How do you evaluate progress?
Holding Sessions

Taking the time to have this conversation not only gives you practical information about their therapy philosophy and modalities. It also gives you the chance to gauge whether or not their communication style resonates with you, i.e., if you “click” with each other, which can be crucial to the success of your treatment.

Here at SAND, we will be open to answering any of your questions as soon as we take your referral. Once allocation is imminent, we can recap any uncertainties or worries you may have.


Whilst Self Care is not a completely sufficient solution for people experiencing extreme mental health conditions, it can reduce some symptoms of stress, depression, and anxiety.

Use Free Resources

  • Health apps and links (we will continue to add these on our website as we grow and update, so keep watch)
  • Reducing stress and anxiety through guided meditations, relaxing music and soundscapes, and sleep stories.
  • Reading a good book or relaxing audio
  • National groups (search for this or speak to us and we can help guide)
  • Our Peer support groups. You can meet up in person or online to share experiences and coping strategies, helping to develop a sense of community.
  • Exercise more to your own level of joy – Being physically active can improve your brain health, help manage weight, reduce the risk of disease, strengthen bones and muscles, and improve your ability to do everyday activities. Whether you do aerobic exercise, yoga, power walking, or a combination of different physical activities, making movement a part of your daily routine can make a difference for those experiencing stress, depression, and anxiety.
  • Limit Caffeine, Alcohol, and Nicotine: Many people lean on caffeine, alcohol, or nicotine during times of hardship. However these substances may worsen psychological distress in some people. If you use one of these substances regularly, it can be very difficult to reduce use during times of stress and anxiety. But, try not to increase consumption, as it can potentially aggravate symptoms further.
  • Prioritise Sleep: Chronic oversleeping and insomnia can both be signs of depression. New Page Unfortunately, both oversleeping and staying up late can exacerbate mental health conditions, contributing to a vicious cycle. Sticking to a sleep schedule can help you improve your sleep quality and overall mental health.
  • Practice Mindfulness: Mindfulness is a type of meditation in which you focus on being intensely aware of what you’re sensing and feeling in the moment, without interpretation or judgment. Practicing mindfulness involves breathing methods, guided imagery, and other practices to relax the body and mind and help reduce stress. The creation of space in your life can reduce stress, anxiety, depression, and even pain. It can also help those who smoke and experience addiction. Being aware that there are some specialised trauma informed practices that are more beneficial than others and to ensure that you find the right practice for you. Here is a website that could help you to find out more.

In addition, some ideas include trying a new receipe, taking a relaxing bath, going for a walk in the Devon countryside, journaling, or a night away to a place where you feel safe and supported. Sometimes changing the scenery helps. If you need to take a mental health day from work to reset and have the ability to do so, allow yourself this time.

Stress & Anxiety

It should come as no surprise that stress levels have increased over the last two years because of the pandemic. Various studies show people cited the pandemic as a significant stressor, they also reported concern about the “future of our country” and political unrest as factors. Let’s keep talking.

Stressed adult


The Science of Stress and the Amygdala

We all know the tell-tale signs of stress: upset stomach, body aches, sweating, nausea, trouble sleeping, etc. But what happens in your body that triggers this physical response? It actually starts in the brain.

Scientists originally believed that our “fight-or-flight” reaction started with the hypothalamus. But what researchers are recently discovering over the last few years is that it is actually the amygdala, the emotional centre of the brain, that tells the hypothalamus to go into overdrive.


  • The amygdala is our emotional centre, which processes negative emotions like fear. The significance in this discovery lies in the relationship among thoughts, emotions, and stress.
  • There’s a cyclical relationship between thoughts, emotions, and stress. Our amygdala registers a stressor — which can be an external situation or a negative thought — and instantly starts the fight-or-flight reaction by sending signals to the hypothalamus and on down the line.
  • We then feel what we subjectively call stress, all the physical and emotional symptoms that are part of fight-or-flight. This unwanted experience deepens our negative emotions and often drives negative thoughts and ruminations. These feed on each other, all the while keeping the stress response active and in high gear.

What can I do then?

Briefly in conclusion, whilst you are on our waiting list. Practicing stress-reduction techniques such as meditation, breath work, and exercising.

Work through symptoms of PTSD, severe anxiety, or panic with a trained professional.

Speak to Sarah about your single sessions. The Peer Support Groups and our interactive website and THRIVE.

Eat a healthy diet, drink good water throughout the day, and get enough sleep to contribute to general good health.

We are here for you to help guide and support the people of our rural community.