[Content warning: this episode discusses self-harming and suicide.]
Thea Joshi is joined by ZeZe Sohawon, an award-winning mental health activist who campaigns for better support for people at the intersection of autism and mental health. ZeZe shares her own lived experience of being on a low-secure inpatient unit, and what helped her to get better. She also shares the vision behind her new charity Emotion Dysregulation in Autism which is working to improve the mental health of young people. She discusses what’s needed for more culturally competent mental health support, and the inequalities facing autistic young people who are struggling with their mental health.
If you appreciated this episode, we’d love your support to keep our work going – please donate today.
- Learn more about ZeZe’s new charity – Emotion Dysregulation in Autism. Check out their Podcast and follow ZeZe on X, formerly known as Twitter
- Read our blog by Zainab on her own experiences of the difficulties she faced as a Muslim trying to access mental health support in the UK that acknowledged her cultural and religious context
- Download our Muslim Mental Health factsheet made in partnership with Woolf Institute
- Watch our Festival of Ideas event on Children and Young People, where ZeZe Sohawon was a guest speaker.
Alethea Joshi (AJ): Hello and welcome to Centre for Mental Health’s podcast. Centre for Mental Health challenges policies, systems and society so that everyone can have better mental health. I’m Thea Joshi, and in each episode, I speak to people with experience of mental health difficulties, someone working in a specific area, or a member of our team about mental health and social justice. And this month, I sat down with ZeZe Sohawon. ZeZe is a mental health speaker and activist, and also recently founded her own mental health charity for autistic young people. ZeZe shared her own story about struggling with her mental health, receiving inpatient care, and what’s helped her towards recovery. We also talked about the need for more culturally competent mental health support, and the inequalities facing autistic people who are struggling with their mental health. Just to say, our conversation does cover some difficult topics around self-harm and psychosis. So do exercise care and feel free to switch off if you need to. I hope you enjoy this conversation. So welcome ZeZe to Centre for Mental Health’s podcast. We’re so happy to have you here with us today.
ZeZe Sohawon (ZS): Yeah, no, thank you for inviting me, I’m really excited to chat to you about some of my experiences and about the status of mental ill health in today’s community and society.
AJ: Amazing. Thank you so much. So, I know that you’re a real trailblazer in terms of sharing your own experience, but also being involved in setting up your own charity, international committees, and somehow also fitting in a neuroscience degree in the midst of all of that, so I’m really excited to talk to you today. I wondered if I could kick off by just asking you to tell us a little bit about your own story and kind of what brought you to this place and to working within mental health.
ZS: Definitely, it’s a really good question. So, I have my own lived experience, and a lot of my lived experience drives the change that I want to make. I first started struggling when I was 11, I’m autistic, and it wasn’t until I started going to secondary school that it really started to show with my kind of eccentric behaviour, I was really struggling with change and relationships, and noise and sensory issues. And so yeah, I got unwell at 11, and I was depressed and ran away from home, the police were called, and then I ended up getting referred to CAMHS. When I was 13, I think, is when I had my autism diagnosis. And then when I was 14 to 18, that’s when I was sectioned in a psychiatric inpatient unit. And it was a long time, four years of my adolescenthood. I was moved from unit to unit, and as soon as my own behaviour kind of escalated, I’d be moved to the next ward, the next kind of layer of security. So, I went from a general adolescent unit to a high dependency unit, and then a psychiatric intensive care unit, and the final place that was the last straw, the last resort for me was low secure.
So, a low secure is a really, secure type of environment and it’s really a place where if you are self-harming really severely and you’re super suicidal, but you’re not aggressive and don’t have a criminal record, that’s where you go. Then, the next most secure place is a medium secure, which is really only if you have a forensic history or you attack people so it was really secure. And it was really, really difficult. I developed psychosis when I was 14, and they picked it up when I was in inpatient. I was really paranoid, I couldn’t read for six months because of how psychotic I was, and not being able to read as well as hearing voices, was really difficult for me and yeah, that was really tough. I ended up kind of on five-to-one, where five staff would have to stop me from hurting myself whenever I went to A&E, I was on one-to-one for six months, I wasn’t allowed to go to the toilet by myself for six months in my low secure, there’s a risk in things. Everything that I saw became a weapon to me, so I was surrounded by some really poorly young people and anything and everything became a weapon, from pens to paper and toilet paper, like things that were normal and every day, just standard, became a weapon. Even water, like people, would water load. It was just like all these different ways that people self-harmed and it became the norm for me to be around such chaos. I was restrained for an hour an hour and a half at a time, sometimes twice a day. I was injected with medication twice a day, which really used to be a kind of rapid tranquilisation, is what they call it. But I was not the worst. I was probably the most mild out of all of those people, which says a lot considering I was restrained for that amount of time.
There were some young people who would kind of be restrained for six hours at a time, and the unit now has closed down. But yeah, it was a lot of restraint, a lot of restrictive practice, lots of blanket rules. And it really shaped how I see the world now like it’s made me who I am today, because I wouldn’t be where I am or who I am without having those experiences. But at the same time, as difficult as it was, it was life-changing and life-saving for me. So it was in that unit, (in the low secure) that they kind of said, you’re going to be here till you’re 18. And I was 16 at the time, and they said, you’re going to be here till 18, and afterwards, you’re going to go into adults, and you’ll be in adults from 18 onwards. So, it was just like a long-term thing, it was a given that I’d stay there for that long. But what was special about that low secure, is that people listened to understand instead of listening to respond, and what I mean by that is they responded to risk, sure, but they got to know me as a person because it was so intensive and, we’d have so much contact with the staff members for like one to one, five to one, three to one. You would really get to know the staff and they became my surrogate family. I decided to get better after I had a really serious attempt where I was kind of unconscious and stuff. So, after that, I kind of decided to trust in the staff because I thought these guys aren’t going to transfer me to the next unit when I get risky because this is the last resort. I think that helped me because it gave me that consistency in care that I knew they were going to stay.
So, I ended up doing some really intensive therapy for five months, and I was self-harm-free for about three months of that time and usually, if you’d been self-harm-free for three months, you’d just be discharged. But because they knew I needed that therapy and needed to stay they kept me on the ward. They let me go to the gym every day that was around the corner from the from the unit, and even though didn’t even have staff for restraints, they always made sure there was a staff member to take me to the gym because he knew it helped my mental health and was part of my care. And, I had a nurse, Emeka, I just opened an email from him today and I update him every so often about how I am, and I call him oldy mouldy so he always signs out as oldy mouldy. I nominated him for an award of the Royal College of Nursing award and he got to the finals and he was brilliant. He was so culturally competent; he was trauma-informed. Every time I was upset, even if I wasn’t in crisis, he knew that being upset was a precursor to crisis. So, he’d always come and see me, and we’d spend maybe an hour talking when the ward was so chaotic, you would always come and speak to me. And he always made the time. Anyway, he got to the finals of those awards, he didn’t win, which I was really bitter about, but he said that even getting to the finals of the award was enough for him, like he was not expecting anything at all. And, he’s become my kind of surrogate dad, I guess when I was on the ward. And, gave me really good care, and my psychologist who did the therapy with me was absolutely brilliant. She’s now on my trustee board for the charity. It’s really lovely that those people saw me when I was at my lowest, but they’ve also stayed to see me at my most successful.
So anyway, that’s the unit, and then afterwards, I went into a less secure unit because I took charge of my care. I kind of said no, I don’t want to be discharged from here. I want to go to a less secure unit and get used to the community again, I want to reintegrate into society. I want to get used to having a cup of tea without it being made by someone else and then using the kettle, I want to get used to metal cutlery, and small things like that and so I did that. So, I got there in January and said I want to do my GCSEs, they said GCSEs would happen in April, you don’t have a lot of time. I said yeah, I want to do it. So, I did my GCSEs in less than five months, got a couple A*’s and all A to C grades. So that was really good, and then I got discharged. I then went into supported living, and did my A-Levels. I got A*A*A B. I got 100% on some of my Psychology essays and 98%, so it was really good. And then yeah, I went into uni, got into uni and now I’m doing human neuroscience but also did loads of mental health activism and campaigning and working with the Royal College of Psychiatry in the inpatient CAMHS’s networks, I started lecturing at universities about my experiences, charging care costs as a child in care too. So, I talked about my experience of having social workers and yeah, I’ve just done really well since. So yeah, that’s my story.
AJ: Oh, ZeZe, I just want to say thank you so much for sharing that, because I think for all of us listening to that, and both in this conversation and our listeners, I think it’s so moving but also, it’s such a story of hope. And obviously, we know that recovery is not like a linear process. It’s not like an A to B situation, we don’t want to kind of reduce it like that but to hear about how hard things were, and the trauma of both the illness, but also the kind of, I guess, of being in those systems, and structures, and restraints, all of those things, and we know the trauma they cause to then be achieving and doing all the amazing things that you’re doing and it’s also really encouraging to hear stories of services who have really, really helped people, because we know that loads of people are supported by amazing services. But obviously, often, and inevitably, the ones we hear about are where things go horribly wrong. And so it’s lovely to hear the hope in that. So thank you so much for sharing that. And there’s so many things I could ask you about more, but I’ve got a tonne of questions. So we’ll have to have you back on the podcast again. But I guess in the context of all of that, and all that you just shared. And now the work that you’re doing and the activism you’re doing, what are some of the key issues that you think are facing young people’s mental health at this moment in time?
ZS: Yeah, I think at the moment, I reference this because I’m not just trying to bring up the past, but I think it’s important, and it’s shaped the face of youth mental health right now. But the Pandemic, I know, a lot of people don’t want to talk about it. But actually, what the pandemic brought was a mental health pandemic. I feel like young people are particularly affected by it. And, yeah, so I feel like we’ve got a pandemic of youth mental illness at the moment. And I think there’s an element of, because there’s higher demand, there’s higher awareness of different mental health problems and what services are out there. I think that because of increased awareness, that’s caused an increased demand. When you’ve got increased demand, you need greater supply. If anything, there’s been reduced supply. Because of all the things going on in the media right now; staff, nurses, doctors, are striking. And so really, there’s not enough provision of mental health services to meet that demand and that increased awareness, it’s great that there’s increased awareness, but there’s just that risk of there’s not enough provision in mental health services to meet the overwhelming amount of young people who need support, there was a 30% increase in mental health referrals, which is around in Birmingham, it’s 90,000 people, which is a lot. And if there’s not been additional staff like that’s, that’s really difficult, and it’s also been a lot, a lot higher acuity in mental health units, because of the pandemic, not being able to leave and there’s been a lot of aggression towards staff and lots of increased self-harm and suicidality. So, we’re really in a bit of a crisis at the moment, I would say.
AJ: Yeah, I mean, and I’d have to agree with you. But we, we know that across the board in adults and children, mental health is getting worse and I think that’s something we’ve talked about before and you’re talking about increased acuity. it’s also that we know that a lot of those support systems that earlier support systems and that kind of safety net, has been removed, or has been cut due to austerity in the pandemic, and all of these, all of these circumstances coming together to create something that’s actually creating a situation that’s really quite concerning. But, I wanted to move on and talk to you about, obviously, earlier this year, we had you at one of our Festival of deas events, and we were talking about Children and Young people, but you also mentioned, the barriers that can prevent people from racialised communities from getting the mental health support that they need. I was just kind of interested to think of it with you about like what you see as some of the main barriers there.
ZS: I think the barriers for kind of BIPOC, or ethnic communities, when it comes to mental health services are a couple of things. So access to services, but also help-seeking and so with help-seeking behaviour, usually, because there’s a greater stigma and ethnic communities around mental illness. And we know that with me, my trauma when I was 11, was with my parents doing an exorcism on me because they thought I was possessed instead of being unwell and that’s really common really, really common that there’s this kind of demonisation of mental ill health. So usually in any kind of South Asian communities, you get that kind of exorcism scenarios, In black communities is often really hushed about what mental illness looks like and any cases of that in the community and black young people tend to develop psychosis and end up in psychiatric intensive care units instead of going through the normal health seeking route, which is usually GP first. But usually, this demographic, this population, doesn’t get support until it’s really in crisis. There are barriers in terms of feeling confident to seek help. And usually, like with me, I think it was probably more stigmatised to ask for help than it was to actually struggle.
ZS: Yeah, there’s loads of TikToks I watch now, of kind of, South Asian people saying, you have anxiety or you have depression as a video, and them saying I used to work seven days a week, 90 hours a week and I wasn’t depressed, so why are you depressed? There’s this kind of generational stigma. So I think stigma feeds a lot into this kind of systemic problem.
AJ: Yeah, that’s interesting. And we were also talking about kind of struggling to access care, or access, like effective support, and something that we’ve been talking a lot about, and I know you have, as well as this kind of idea of services, providing more culturally competent or culturally informed or faith informed support. And I guess I was kind of interested to know, like, what your experience has been of that? And what do you think it looks like to provide more culturally competent mental health support?
ZS: I think culturally competent services is an ideal, which I don’t think will ever be met. And the reason why I say that is because the model of mental health care that we follow in the UK is Westernised, and there’s the services that are out there at the moment are not set up for people from ethnic communities. And that’s a really big barrier. And so that cultural competency is, is something that I don’t think will ever fully be 100% accomplished. But I think what culturally competent care looks like is being able to be informed of culture and using that knowledge to impact the delivery of care. So I’ll give an example. So with Emeka, my nurse who got to the finals, he would sometimes during Christmas, where there’ll be an expectation that everybody had to engage in loads of activities. And if you didn’t, you wouldn’t have left. And so that was like a rule that if you didn’t engage in all activities, you wouldn’t be allowed to go out on leave, because you’re not engaging. And I didn’t want to engage in doing Christmas decorations, because I was like, I don’t even celebrate this, why do I need to? And then they were like, well, you just can’t go on leave. And then Emeka got involved and said, No, actually got to think about this, that this isn’t Zainab’s culture, she’s the only brown person on the ward. This isn’t her norm. And so he said, she is going to go on leave because she shouldn’t have to get involved in an activity that has no bearing on her. And so that was actually really powerful for me because every other person on the ward would have just said, Yeah, you’re not doing on the leave and you’re gonna have to engage in all activities, or we won’t let you out. And they knew that going out was important for my mental health journey and recovery and going to the gym every day was important to me. And so it was actually quite counterintuitive I guess that if I didn’t do the activities, I wouldn’t go on leave and if I didn’t go on leave I’d end up deteriorating. So it wasn’t right. But having Emeka do that was really important. And I think, with cultural competency, there’s this idea of equality and equity. The difference between that is equality is when you give everybody the same opportunity. Equity is giving everyone the same opportunity, but tailoring support so that each person has different needs, and is able to thrive, in the situation that they’re in with the right reasonable adjustments that they’ve got, meeting those different needs to be able to perform. And so in NHS mental health services, there’s no, I guess, there’s no kind of provision for meeting equality and equity in ethnic communities and engaging in mental health services. So I think that’s something that’s important too.
AJ: Thank you so much ZeZe, and I know there’s so much more we could talk about that. We just published a fact sheet yesterday on Muslim mental health, and we were looking quite a lot within that at access to faith-informed services. We actually published a blog by a colleague of ours called Zainab, about her own experiences as a Muslim trying to access support which kind of acknowledged her faith as well as her culture and the struggles there. So we just were just very aware that there’s a huge amount still to do on that. There’s a really long journey ahead, but it’s really helpful to hear some of your thoughts on that and your own experiences as well. I do want to ask you about your new charity. So, it’s Emotion Dysregulation in Autism (EDA). Can you tell us a bit more about it?
ZS: Yeah. So, emotion dysregulation or EDA for short is a youth mental health charity for autistic young people. So our vision is to see a world where autistic young people no longer receive inpatient care for their mental health difficulties. We’ve been born from lived experience. So I talked a little bit about my own lived experience but throughout my activism, I kind of did a lot of speaking, I did a lot of international events in front of Royalty and won awards; Parliamentary Award, British Citizen Award, Diana Award, and I felt like I engaged in loads of different co-production boards within the trust, helped raise a million pounds for other charities. But I think I wanted to stop talking about the change that needed to happen in Youth Mental Health, but I wanted to start doing and I wanted to be the change that needed to happen. And so that’s why I set up Emotion Dysregulation and Autism. And I got together a trustee board who were absolutely brilliant, I love my board. And they’re like, my team, I guess. And they are really, really supportive, they’re really great. And I think 85% of all of us have lived experience. So we are lived experience lead, which I think is a real credit to how we function. And the main two things that we provide are social action. So that’s where we are working with campaigns we started doing work in places of worship where I’m talking about autism and youth mental health, openly in different ethnic communities. So we went to a black majority church, and that was really, really successful. And there was also a Social Action event that we were funded to do, which was funded by the Commonwealth Games, which was really big. And we were really happy to get that funding. And we had some young people with lived experience also talk about their experiences and talk about what they thought needed to change in the system. And we brought along policymakers, so the young people were the keynote speakers and the policymakers, they weren’t there to talk, they were there to listen, they were the keynote listeners. So the power was given to the youth voice. And it was really successful. 80% of people said that they felt they knew and understood more about autism, and that overlaps with emotion dysregulation and 100% of people said they would come again, so I guess I should explain what emotion dysregulation means. So emotion dysregulation is when you struggle to communicate and express emotions leading to self-harm and suicidality. So a lot of what we what we do in the peer support element is trying to create a peer support programme to help autistic young people who are leaving the inpatient system to reintegrate back into the community by providing them with social action opportunities and stabilisation skills. So we’ve trained our peer support workers in dialectical behavioural therapy for autism, and give them those stabilisation therapeutic skills, but also work with them to find education, employability, social action, volunteering opportunities, to help them get in the community and stay in the community. And so yeah, that’s, that’s a little bit about about the charity.
AJ: That’s amazing, thank you so much ZeZe. And we will obviously link to the EDA website and handles and whatever in the show notes, but it’s so exciting to hear what you’re doing. And yeah, that just sounds really amazing. And again, that kind of faith-informed culture, like working with different communities, as we’ve said, is so, so vital. I know that this is kind of your bread and butter anyway. But like for people who maybe know less about the subject, can you just give us a brief insight into the overlap between mental health and autism? We know that there are links there, can you just unpick that a little bit for us?
ZS: Definitely, so, autism is a neurodevelopmental disorder. And it’s a spectrum so you have people with high support needs and low support needs. The main struggles are around social environments and sensory overload, and there’s loads of other struggles. And it’s also called neuro-divergence. Mental illness is primarily an illness and I guess where the two overlap is that autistics are 28 times more likely to experience suicidality and 70% of autistics have an association with mental health problems alongside their autism. So there’s a high kind of rate of comorbidity in autistic people. There’s also I think, in the West Midlands, 57 I think percent of all the impatient beds in the West Midlands have autistic people in them. So 57% of the whole proportion of West Midlands beds are autistic, and so there’s a really high rate of autistic young people having an association with mental illness, and then there are some particular things in autism that kind of causes additional mental illness. So, something that is lesser known is that Autistics struggle a lot with emotion regulation. Emotion regulation means being able to control and manage emotions safely. And so there’s things around alexithymia, which is this, this symptom, which means when you struggle to find the words to the emotion, so a lot of Autistics will struggle to communicate and express emotions because they don’t know what the word is or how to how to find the words to their emotions. So often, there’s a lot of other behaviours and self harm, for example, that that does communicate that in a less safe away. And so there’s alexithymia, there’s also interoception, which is when an Autistic person is unable to feel or like kind of be in touch with feelings. So, this happens in kind of physical health and in autism as well, where an individual will not realise, they’re hungry until they’re super hungry and they’ll eat loads or an individual doesn’t realise they need the toilet until they wet themselves. So, those are parts of autism. So interoception also co-occurs with emotion dysregulation because if you struggle to know that you’re anxious, nervous, or really low, then you’ll only realise it when you’re super low, or like when you’re in crisis. So that’s the link between autism and mental health. And then there’s also things around rejection sensitivity, dysphoria, which is what Autistics can experience. And that’s when you can have this perceived rejection or abandonment. And there’s a lot of co-occurrence with borderline personality disorder and autism because they’re quite similar in some aspects. But because I think with borderline personality disorder you have this fear of rejection and abandonment, but in autism, you’ve got this rejection sensitivity dysphoria. Rejection sensitivity dysphoria is more about feeling rejected in society because you don’t know how to act socially. With BPD it is more about trauma. And so I guess there’s also an element of trauma in autism to where there’s a lot of kind of social injustice or systemic trauma because it’s really hard to get a diagnosis. There’s really long waiting lists easily your mental health deteriorates before you get a diagnosis. The difficulties in access to care for autistic people means that mental health deteriorates faster. And there’s added trauma from the system. And I know that Autistics inpatient units, it’s five and a half years that they usually stay, that’s the average length of stay in an inpatient unit, so that systemic trauma, that institutionalisation that restricted practice that’s been inflicted on that person, all of those things can deteriorate mental health further. So that kind of link between the two and the kind of crisis that we’re in with autistic people being locked away in units for years and years.
AJ: Thank you so much for just yeah, sharing a few of the insights there. There’s, so much more again, that I can ask you about, it’s just really helpful to have that background knowledge when we’re discussing this overlap between autism and mental health. And I know that as well as the obvious links that you’ve shared there there’s also this sense that often, standard NHS mental health services are not really set up well to support the needs of autistic people. And that comorbidity as you mentioned, means that they are more likely to fall through the gaps or not get the support they need. So, I guess I was wondering what you think NHS services or other mental health services need to do to better meet the needs of autistic people.
ZS: I think I’d like to start this question by referencing a charity ambassadors, so Lindsay Bridges, is one of our charity ambassador and she’s so strong, so resilient, she’s a parent of a girl called Lauren. Lauren died by suicide in February of 2022, she died by suicide in an inpatient ward and Lauren was autistic. And Lauren’s story of dying in inpatient care is not the only story that is out there where an autistic has passed away in a place where they’re meant to be looked after. So I guess there needs to be a really drastic systemic change in how we look after autistic people in units. I feel like inpatient services are where the Autistics in crisis usually go to, but I think there needs to be a lot more early prevention in the community and trying to keep an autistic person in the community as long as possible before, it’s absolutely necessary for them to go into inpatient. I think there’s something around community reintegration and having post-inpatient support for Autistics or even post-diagnostic support for Autistics and something that we’re doing as a charity is trying to create this peer support program so that after inpatient, an autistic young person is able to work with a peer support worker and their clinical team to stay in the community as long as possible so they avoid readmission. and they’re able to stay in the community and live a life worth living, find an identity other than their autism and mental ill health, reduce self harm, reduce suicidal ideation, and that kind of thing.
And there’s actually massive savings in that. It takes, I think that the money that the money for keeping someone inpatient is 286,600 pounds a year, which is a lot. But if you had a young person in our care support, who is in full-time, 24/7, staff residential supported living, it’s 149,000 pounds. It’s 52% savings, so it’s really good for the economy and reduces the economic burden of suicide. In Birmingham, one suicide costs 1.39 million pounds, whereas in the rest of England, it’s £1.7 million. And so, I feel like there’s a lot of savings that could be made if we invest in better community provision, rather than only investing in inpatient provision. So I think that the way forward is embedding Autistics in the community, and being able to manage their difficulties in their own home where they’re comfortable, they’re with their loved ones, their family, because for example Lauren and Lindsay, Lauren was held, I think 280 miles away from her home in Bournemouth, and that contributed towards kind of the distress that Lauren felt and really broke Lindsay’s family. And it’s absolutely awful what’s happened to Lindsay and her family and shouldn’t have happened. And that’s the reality of what will happen in a worst case scenario. And you need to prevent that as much as we can by investing in better community provision.
AJ: ZeZe, thank you so much for that. And again, I just feel like with all of these conversations, we have scratched the surface, I say this a lot. But I’d really would love to just carry on chatting with you. So we will have to have you on again. But I wanted to just finish up by asking you, what you do to maintain your own mental health and your wellbeing.
ZS: Yeah definitely, so my own Mental health and well-being… I feel like a big, big part of my recovery has been activism. I really enjoy campaigning and helping people in the way that I do by speaking at events. And it’s been a really big part of my recovery. And I think it kept me in the community. So that’s really important for me to do. I think having a bit of a work-life balance. And I mean the thing that I love watching is Married at First Sight or Love is Blind. And I like to binge-watch it on a Sunday. And have a Sunday where I binge-watch Netflix.
AJ: Love that!
ZS: So yeah, I absolutely love married at first sight. So yeah, I kind of tell my mum, I’m gonna go Married at First Sight, and she goes, I’ll have a heart attack if you do. So that’s my thing. And like going to the gym, I used to like running, I like weightlifting and journaling really helps me. And I feel like journaling is something where people think what do you do in a journal? but someone told me when you journal, this is what it’s about. It’s about thinking in ink and I really liked that. And so yeah, that really helps me is being able to look at what I’m grateful for my goals, my values, if my values have changed, and yeah, it really helps me. Another thing that helps is having a bit of a sandwich in terms of my productivity. So, if I’ve got a really busy day, where I’m in meetings from eight till 8 pm and or I’m going to go somewhere a bit further away like I go to London or something for an overnight, I know that it’s going to take a lot of my social battery. So I try to have something planned for before or after that is a bit a bit more chilled so that I’m able to have enough in my battery to cope with the busyness. In the middle of a sandwich is my busyness and then the outsides are kind of my chill time. So I might watch lots of Netflix, or just make sure I’ve got loads of rest and slept a lot or I’ll go I’ll go for walks. And so I try to have that. That’s kind of a way of safeguarding my own mental health and well-being throughout trying to help other people.
AJ: That is amazing. Thank you so much for sharing that with us. And I love I love those options there. It’s lovely just to get that insight. ZeZe, thank you so much for sitting down with us today. It’s been a real joy to chat to you. We just wish you all the best with a new charity. We will link to all of that stuff. Thanks for listening. I really hope our conversation has inspired you in the fight for mental health equality. We rely on support to fight for change. So please give what you can at centreformentalhealth.org.uk/donate. See you next time.