‘I would not be alive if it were not for Dolores’

A Gravesend therapist who supports victims of rape and sexual abuse has been nominated for the 2024 Kent Mental Wellbeing Awards. Credited as saving the life of her nominator who suffered sexual abuse for more than a decade at the hands of her father, Dolores Fernandez, now works for Family Matters in Gravesend. Adam Hobbs from the awards team found out more about her work.   


Dolores Fernandez has been nominated for a Community Award for her work as part of the team at Family Matters in Gravesend. The charity provides skilled and professional support to victims of sexual abuse and rape, including providing Independent Sexual Violence Advisers (ISVA’s) which support victims through the immediate aftermath of their assault, offering help and guidance in navigating the criminal justice system from initial report to a trial at court.

Dolores, a specialist trauma therapists at Family Matters, has been nominated for the award by one of her clients who says that she is an inspiration who really understands everybody’s needs, both met and unmet, and who has endless ideas and is bursting with innovative and creative approaches to her work.

After a very challenging year, which saw the suicide of a close family member, the client said she wishes recognition for Dolores as the individual who helped her and many others, saying that “Her compassion is unfathomable, her empathy is the deepest I have ever known, her want to learn how to help me is just inspiring.”

The nominator said: “Dolores has gone over and above to support me and as a result support my family. She has stuck with me through the most difficult times of my life and never wavers, she has compassion like no one I have met in my life. She adapts to support me in the best way she can.“I cannot begin to thank her enough for her support, or to convey to her how much she means to me and my family. I would not be alive if I hadn’t come to meet her.”

The Kent Mental Well-being awards is an annual event designed to showcase the people, organisations and initiatives that help us cope with life. The event’s three themes are: kindness and compassion; wellbeing; mental health.

Whether it is in school, business, community or family, so many of us have been lucky to have people and organisations with ideas, tips and tactics to help us cope. It is time to celebrate those mental health and well-being champions in our community and share this best practice.

The awards will be staged in October by the mental health charity Mind in Bexley and East Kent in collaboration with a range of wellbeing and mental health organisations.

Nominations can be linked to a simple act of kindness that lifted the spirits, a business that has improved staff wellbeing, through to a targeted initiative delivered by a charity or statutory organisation to support a mental health issue.

The event is sponsored by Kent County Council, Kent Community Foundation, ADM Computing, GrainLNG – National Grid, Medway Council, Optyma Security, Wave Community Bank, Ble Global, Cactus Graphics and CommunityAid.

Submit nominations at www.kentmentalwellbeingawards.org.uk  For awards news follow @KentMWAwards on Facebook and X, the platform formerly known as Twitter.