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Coping with a face covering as a survivor of sexual or physical violence

Here are some useful tips for survivors who may find it difficult to cope with wearing mandatory face coverings in shops and supermarkets, in line with the Government guidance changes on the 24th July.

Things which may help;

  • trial different fabrics and materials, for example some people may find cottons, silks, or T-shirt style materials more bearable.

  • wearing a face covering which isn’t a mask, for example a scarf, snood, or bandana.

  • practicing wearing a face covering at home before going outside and slowly increasing the time you have it on for so you get used to how it feels.

  • putting calming scents on the face covering such as lavender or mint.

  • using other grounding techniques such as tapping pulse points, opening and closing a peg, or focusing on things you can see, smell, and touch.

By recognising even though face coverings may trigger you of past events, you can remind yourself that you are in control, and you can step outside of a building and remove face coverings at any point.

Those with the following circumstances are exempt from wearing a mask: 

  • Children under the age of 11

  • Those with disabilities or the following health conditions:

    • Breathing difficulties and other respiratory conditions.

    • Conditions affecting their dexterity, meaning they are not able to put on a face covering.

    • Mental health conditions such as anxiety or panic disorders.

    • Other non-visible disabilities such as autism.

    • Cognitive impairments, including dementia, who may not understand or remember the need to wear a face covering.

    • Visual impairments, with a restricted field of vision, particularly if any residual vision is at the lower edge of the normal field of view.

    • Impairments which would make it difficult to put on or take off a face covering safely, accurately, consistently or without pain.

The latest guidance exemption cards can be found on to print or download to your phone, as some people when asked may feel more comfortable showing something that says they do not have to wear a face covering.

Sharon Davitt MBACP Integrative Counsellor

Witham Therapy Room

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