Hannah’s story from Hafan Cymru

I started working for Hafan Cymru three years ago. In my pre-Hafan life I was a History teacher for many years. Over the course of my teaching career, my focus and drive shifted from a love of teaching History, to a desire to make a difference to people’s lives through my work.

I moved into teaching vulnerable children who weren’t able to attend school for various reasons. It became my mission to prove to them and their schools that they have something to offer to society, and that they could succeed despite being out of school for whatever reason. I was able to have an impact on individual pupils’ lives but I what really wanted was to have a wider impact, and so I joined Hafan Cymru.

I am passionate about delivering training on domestic abuse. I’m amazed at how many professionals from different sectors still come to training holding beliefs that domestic abuse is about a loss of control, or that some women just go for “that type,” or that it only happens in lower socio economic areas. Dispelling these myths and helping professionals understand coercive control and how it restricts a victim’s space for making choices, means that I can be hopeful that gradually there will be a shift in society’s assumptions about domestic abuse.When it comes to the effects of domestic abuse on children and young people, I am equally driven. It saddens me that there was an increase in disclosures from children post lockdown. We were approached by some local authorities to deliver training to schools on how to respond to disclosures from children. As a teacher, I was glad that efforts are made to minimise risk to children.  The training we delivered ensured that more children will get the correct response and support from adults in schools, should they need it.

Another passion of mine is helping people understand why they’re struggling with their mental health, and then giving them practical tools to help manage their anxiety and depression, for example, effectively.  This is what we teach in our Mental Health courses.

Delivering the course on suicide awareness is a topic that is particularly close to my heart. Our family was bereaved due to suicide a few years ago. Talking about suicide, the signs that someone is feeling suicidal and how we can reduce the risk of a person suiciding is important. It means that I have the opportunity to potentially help prevent some suicides by giving other people the confidence to ask if they think someone is feeling that way.

Overall, as cliché as it may sound, I want to be able to help and make a difference to people, and in my role delivering training and providing mental health support, I’m getting to do that with as wide a reach as I possibly can.