In this blog article which first appeared as an NSPA lived experience blog on the website (read the blog in full here.) we hear from NSPA Lived Experience Influencer, Sandeep Saib, about how her strong attachment to her Sikhism faith has played a pivotal role in her mental health journey. She shares her thoughts on the importance of her relationship between faith and mental health, and in particular, suicide prevention.
“I am proud to be born into the Sikhism faith, a monotheistic spiritual doctrine with philosophy and teachings at the heart of it, which my family and I have always had a close relationship with. For me, being attached to my faith has instilled in me many cultural factors that I hold in high regard today such as giving structure and meaning to behaviours, value systems and experiences, and the strong correlation between religious involvement and spirituality with better health outcomes and quality of life.
However, going through my own mental health illnesses, there was a time when I in fact lost sight of my faith entirely. As I was going into deeper darker territories including suicidal thoughts, I was moving further away from my faith. When I was struggling, I was struggling in silence, in my own bubble going through the trials and tribulations with my suffering – unintentionally aware how it was playing out, what I was doing and the effect I/it was having beyond me, myself and my mind.
That bubble popped when I tried to take my own life on Friday 29th August 2014.
My life changed.
Why now? Why then, at that very specific point in my life?
I was saved. Saved by my mum. Saved by my family. Saved by my faith.”
Sandeep then shares her three key learnings
Family Trust Circle – regular monthly meetings where her family eat together and share their thoughts and feelings; positives and negatives
Faith Leaders and Communities – the very powerful role they can play in raising awareness, shaping attitudes, behaviours and practices
Self-faith Sandeep describes how developing and deepening a sense of faith in herself has been an important part of her faith and her journey
Sandeep concludes that:
Mental health advocacy is my way of life, my way of being – now and forever”
This short summary of Sandeep’s personal and thought-provoking article cannot do it justice, so do read the blog in full here.
About The Author
Having been diagnosed with Anorexia Nervosa, Body Dysmorphic Disorder (BDD) and Obsessive Compulsive Disorder (OCD) and also a Suicide Survivor from the years 2012-2016, seven years later, Sandeep Saib is a prolific Lived/Living Experience (‘Expert by Experience’) Mental Health Advocate, NSPA Lived Experience Influencer, Philanthropist and Public Speaker, sharing her recovery journey to educate and empower others and fight for the cause, especially equality, diversity and inclusion, in the world of mental health. Sandeep also volunteers and collaborates with various charities and organisations to continue making change happen.