A woman who attempted to take her own life aged 13 wants to change the language around mental health – saying she was previously dismissed as “sensitive.”
Tanya Marwaha, 21, wants to end the taboo around the topic.
She says she “struggled” with her mental health from a young age and has attempted suicide.
Now she is involved with a charity and tours the UK trying to help others.
Tanya, from Worthing, England, said: “I am a survivor of suicide, I have struggled from a young age.
“I had my first suicide attempt when I was 13, and now I am about to turn 22.
“It has been a long journey, but I want to share my experiences to help people.
Tanya who is from a South Asian background said she was always called “sensitive” until the age of 16 when she was diagnosed with depression and anxiety.
She said: “Growing up I was always told how I was very sensitive.
“I have always struggled, and I got diagnosed with depression and anxiety at 16 which gave me some answers.”
“It has been a journey dealing with suicidal thoughts, for me, it has been about finding hope and using those reasons to keep going.
“There is some amazing work going on in the mental health space, but we are just not talking about it.”
Tanya is involved with the charity Baton of Hope, which was launched by Mike McCarthy and Steve Phillip who made contact following the deaths of their sons to suicide.
According to the UK’s Office for National Statistics (ONS) there were 5,583 suicides registered in England and Wales in 2021.
Tanya said: “We know certain groups are conditioned to behave in a certain way.
“Men don’t talk about things, they keep their feelings inside.
“The South Asian community often focuses on religion and following god.
“We know there is so much support nationally and locally, but people don’t how to get there.
“We have our friends map which shows people where they can get help.
“The tour is to spark a national conversation to get people talking about an issue that is so easy to run away from.
“Even though I have been working with the ‘Baton of Hope’ for a year, I have still had my moments where I have felt suicidal.
“But I know where to go, and I know where to speak to.”
The baton will make its way through nine more cities before the tour ends in London on July 6, 2023.
Tanya started the tour in Glasgow and will be following the baton on its journey through the UK.
She said: “The tour is going smoothly.
“One of the things I have noticed is that people are united.
“One of the rewarding things is our baton bearers are bonding and staying in touch with each other.
“Or they found out about a service they didn’t originally know about and are going to signpost it for their community.
“The baton is symbolic as it represents mental health, which is important as we don’t have any physical symbols for it.”
Produced in association with SWNS Talker
Edited by Alberto Arellano and Joseph Hammond
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