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Contacting CARA for the first time - a survivor's perspective

How it feels to contact CARA for the first time. . . 


CARA service-users have told us how difficult it can feel to reach out and seek support by contacting CARA for the first time.     Below are some experiences from service-users of the first time they contacted us, or the first time they accessed our support.   We hope they will help reassure you about taking the first step and contacting CARA.


"It was an enormous step and took everything in me to contact CARA  - I am so glad I did."


"After 42 years, I plucked up the courage to phone CARA. A warm, friendly and understanding voice was so reassuring and eased my anxieties. The main thing I remember is for the first time someone was listening sympathetically." 


"I remember the first time I walked through the door... because I'd actually walked past it 3 times before plucking up the courage to enter. I had felt so nervous. (I didn't realise at the time that I could have phoned ahead and have someone meet me). I immediately felt I'd made the right decision as I was met by such a warm, caring person, I knew I was in safe hands."


"I felt so anxious, frightened and full of anxiety but I knew I had to call CARA. I was greeted by a very warm, understanding person on the phone who was very calm and caring, who took my details. Then I was asked if I'd I would like to receive a 'care pack', which came through the post. I Then  received a phone call to make an appointment for my assessment soon after. I have never looked back."


"I had never heard of CARA, I was given the phone number by the mental health team after I made a disclosure during an appointment. I didn’t phone. I felt like a fraud, I thought as it had happened so long ago I should just forget it and be ‘over it’. I didn’t really feel I deserved to be helped, I told myself it wasn’t really that bad, I wasn’t physically hurt enough for it to be serious, other women suffer far more- CARA was just for them. 2 weeks passed- my partner asked if I had phoned- I said I hadn’t, I put it off, another two weeks passed, then another- I said I hadn’t got around to it- eventually I phoned the number and was put on the waiting list for counselling. I received a pack with some useful information and advice and I was invited to meet the social group. Once again, I felt like fraud- as if I would be taking up a space that another woman deserved far more than I did. So, I didn’t go- I found so many reasons to avoid it and just stayed busy, I got out the booklet they sent and read it over and over- then one day I walked in. I played loud music in headphones to stop me thinking. I pretended I was going to the nearby shop and I walked in. Everyone understood how hard it was and they thought I was brave- I thought I was pathetic and useless struggling to walk through a door- but they knew I was brave. In the three years since that day I have received counselling and made a some very special friendships with women that make me feel brave and beautiful!"



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Contacting CARA by phone


You can contact CARA to ask questions about the services we offer or talk to us about the support you are looking for. 

Our enquiry line number is

01206 769795

We try to answer this line whenever  we can, but you may get an answerphone message.  If you do, please leave us a message and we will call you back as soon as possible.

Contacting CARA online


You can also contact CARA online - you can fill in an online self-referral form, or you can e-mail us on