Chantelle Jackson has been treated at South London and Maudsley Hospital (SLaM) for various mental health issues for all of her adult life. In 2015, she fundraised for SLaM by abseiling down King’s College Hospital to show thanks for her treatment. She also wanted to show that people with mental illness are able to do whatever they put their mind to.
‘When I was 16 I was admitted to Maudsley Hospital with severe depression, anorexia and self-harming behaviours. If it weren’t for the hospital’s intervention, I would not be alive today. After being discharged I received ongoing psychological therapy at Maudsley to help keep me afloat in the scary and overwhelming world outside.
‘Years later, aged 27, I was referred back to Maudsley as my mental health issues had persisted. It was then in 2012 that Maudsley deduced I had Asperger’s Syndrome, and that was that cause of my continuing struggles.’
An eye-opening diagnosis
‘This revelation was transformational for me, as I could finally accept myself as I am, with my differences. I embraced instead of fought against my eccentricities. The Maudsley gave me a chance to live freely and honestly, and I’ve never looked back.
‘I chose to do the abseil because Maudsley saved me from suicide, and once you’ve looked death in the face and survived, you can do anything! It was a way of showing the world that, even though people may have mental illness and Asperger’s, they are no less capable than anyone else.’
‘I loved the thrill and adrenaline, but mostly the warm, fuzzy feeling inside that I helped both the NHS and other SLaM patients like myself. I have raised over £200 and would like the money to go to wherever in the service it is needed most. I found art and music projects most helpful while I was an inpatient, so maybe something like that.’
If you’ve been inspired by Chantelle’s story, find out more about how you can get involved with fundraising for SLaM.