Sandra Johnson is doing a skydive on 21st September to raise money for Peckham Befrienders, a BME befriending service which is part of the South London & Maudsley Foundation Trust (SLaM) volunteering programme for BME people with mental health problems.
She started volunteering at Peckham Befrienders in January 2019. “I discovered just how many people in the community are really isolated. Without it, they’d have no safe space where they can just go, listen to music, relax and socialise with other people.”
Still I Rise
Since experiencing her own mental health problems ten years ago, she has campaigned for individuals who have gone through domestic abuse and mental ill health to be able to speak out safely about their experiences, and fulfil their potential.
She set up the organisation Still I Rise, which aims to provide support to people in the community creating a non-clinical, judgement-free environment and emphasise that no matter what they have endured they can still get better.
Sharing her story to inspire others
Sandra says: “As someone who has been detained and treated at the Maudsley Hospital, I don’t want to be afraid to share my story if it helps to inspire hope for recovery in others.”
In the last couple of years she has challenged herself to conquer her fears and do things for the first time, by swimming with manta rays, and doing a bungee jump, despite not being able to swim, and being afraid of heights.
Earlier this year she lost a close friend to suicide, and is chose this particular challenge in his memory. “He inspired me to look after my physical health as a way to manage my depression, and taught me the importance of self-care. Thanks to him I’ve lost over 3 stone to be able to take part in this skydive.”
Services like Peckham Befrienders provide invaluable support to BME mental health patients in the community. Help Sandra reach her £700 target by donating here: https://uk.virginmoneygiving.com/SandraJohnson9