I am a British Sikh woman living in Sandwell, and I am an ex-nurse working as a volunteer in the community. I went into nursing because I wanted to help others and connect with people in a positive way.
As a nurse, I was bullied at work for many years. I suffered in silence for a long time.
Being bullied and speaking out was not easy. When I had come forward to speak out, I felt I was fighting an army. I was not getting any support or moving forward with my case, this began to affect my health. I realised I need to stop and reflect on what was going to be my next step. I thought long and hard.
It was time to let go of my nursing career.
Starting again was not easy. For a long period of time, I did not know what else I wanted to do workwise.
I suffered from deep depression and was in a dark place, all doors were shut. Eventually, in time, I took a life-changing decision. The next step was going to be an important stage in my life.
In May 2017, I decided to set up an Asian group called Sandwell Asian Mental Health Group
SAMHG is for both men and women with Asian backgrounds who deal with mental health issues and focus on the health and well-being aspect of individual lives. SAMHG’s aim is to connect, support and signpost.
Both men and women get together and talk about all subjects and share information on mental health and wellbeing. I feel that the work we do is making a positive difference in people’s lives. I am there to support people to achieve even small things. I help them build their confidence, meet new people, to start new ventures and to begin to dream again.
Dealing with mental health issues, and talking about it, even now it’s not easy. There is a stigma in our society, especially in my culture, we do not talk about it, we just carry on with life. So me coming forward is a huge step and to be brave enough to speak out.
The photo was taken on top of a hill in Oldbury. I am saying that I am a survivor. I struggled for many years and suffered in silence. Freedom means a big thing to me. All these years I felt I was in prison and now I feel I am coming out, with freedom and fresh air. To be able to breathe. I feel I did the time, but not the crime. I realise now it’s never too late to start something new. I believe if you are determined and very motivated, you can achieve anything if you put your mind to it. I can’t believe where I am today, I am top of the world. I am alive.
The photo also says ‘dreams can come true’ so never give up hope. I would like to see the world a happy, loving and peaceful place. A world where everyone plays their role to make it better. Live your life fully and help one another.