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May 1, 2023

Saprea Highlighting Mental Health Resources for Survivors in May

Saprea is highlighting its mental health resources for survivors of child sexual abuse during Mental Health Awareness Month in May. Those who are sexual abuse survivors will spend years, even decades, dealing with trauma; and oftentimes these effects include mental health-related issues.

One in five children will be sexually abused before their 18th birthday. The impacts of this trauma last long after the abuse has stopped. Survivors are five times more likely than the general population to be hospitalized for a physical or mental health problem. Survivors are also three times more likely than the general population to attempt suicide.

“This trauma is not just something that you get over or put behind you when you reach adulthood,” said Saprea Chief Clinical Officer Betsy Kanarowski. “The effects are real and can have long lasting impacts on the brain, body, emotions, behaviors, and relationships. Many survivors struggle with lifelong shame associated with both the abuse and its effects, and incorrectly believe that they are inherently broken or unworthy and that these feelings of inadequacy will never change.”

Saprea invites survivors and their supporters to practice self-care to help facilitate mental, physical, and emotional growth. These resources, while created for survivors, can be useful to anyone hoping to increase their mental wellness.

  • Paced Breathing – One of the most effective grounding techniques survivors can use to reconnect with the present moment is their breath.
  • Guided Meditation – Meditation can help shift your focus away from anxieties and back to the present.
  • Yoga – This practice can help you become more aware of your thoughts, emotions, and physical sensations.
  • Creative Expression – Healing from trauma, especially the trauma of child sexual abuse, takes time and intention. Doing something creative gives you an opportunity to focus on the process and stay in the moment.
  • Progressive Muscle Relaxation – This relaxation exercise centers around tensing and releasing your major muscle groups to help you notice, appreciate, and relax those muscles.
  • Sleep Affirmations – One way to reduce anxiety at bedtime is to redirect your focus toward reassuring, soothing thoughts.

“Saprea is leading the charge against child sexual abuse using proven, practical methods for confronting and overcoming child sexual abuse,” said Saprea Managing Director Chris Yadon. “Saprea’s services and resources are free thanks to the generosity of our donors.”

Saprea provides healing retreats, both on site and virtually. “Through evidence-based educational and experiential classes, retreat participants explore practical and accessible steps that support their healing journey,” Kanarowski said.

Additionally, Saprea also offers survivor-led support groups around the world, available in four languages. Survivors have found that being part of a support group increases their trust in others, helps them feel less isolated and judged, and can reduce their distress, depression, and anxiety.

If you or someone you know is a survivor of child sexual abuse, visit saprea.org to access online healing tools or apply for one of Saprea’s retreats or webinars.

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