Please ensure Javascript is enabled for purposes of website accessibility Inclusive Mental Health - Help to End Injustice | CBM Australia

Sanjiya* is afraid and alone. She’s been cast aside.

*Because of the stigma Sanjiya has experienced, she prefers her face is not shown in photos. We have also used a pseudonym to protect her identity.

Content Warning: The story here refers to suicide, which may be distressing for some. If you or someone you know is in need of support, please consider calling Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14.


Sanjiya loves writing songs. She wants to be a singer!

At 14 years old, Sanjiya already has so much to offer the world. But instead, she spends her days living in fear, loneliness, and despair.

Sanjiya shared…

“My classmates teased me and talked behind my back. They called me a ghost and other bad words. Because of this, I liked to be alone.”

You can help end injustice for people like Sanjiya with mental health conditions.

Help provide people like Sanjiya with the mental health support services they need to reconnect with their families and communities.

Your support for CBM helps us to fight injustice in many ways other than ending needless blindness and physical disability. You also help us work hard to support people living in poverty who experience stigmatisation and exclusion because of mental health challenges too. Just as Sanjiya did.

Why did Sanjiya’s peers tease her so cruelly?

It all started when she began to have seizures at school.

Her father, Laxman, recalls his fear for his daughter…

“She would have seizures, bite her teeth, and faint. We had no clue what to do.”

Laxman and Sanjiya’s mother Amola decided to take their daughter out of the school she was attending to keep her in the safety of their home. But as time went by, Sanjiya’s illness, the stigma and the isolation she was experiencing, led to depression.

With Sanjiya’s condition going untreated, the situation only got worse.

Sanjiya lives in a world of despair because she simply doesn’t understand what is happening to her and cannot stop her seizures. All she knows is that she is being left out by her peers and cast aside because she is different.

Sanjiya said the heartbreaking words…

“I have suicidal thoughts and other thoughts in my mind all the time.”

Where Sanjiya lives, both medical and mental health conditions like those she experiences, are not just misunderstood… they are feared.

It’s often believed people experiencing mental illness are possessed by ghosts as punishment from deities and ancestors. It means people like Sanjiya experience severe stigma and injustice from the community.

There are usually no services available to help people in Sanjiya’s situation. And instead of receiving medical help, people are sent to a traditional healer.

Or cast out entirely.

Sanjiya needs specialised mental health support services and medication.

Sanjiya’s parents were able to take her to a doctor, where she was diagnosed with Conversion Disorder and depression. She needs mental health support and medication right away to ease her suffering.

But in the community Sanjiya lives, mental health support, including medication, are not easily available. And for families living in poverty, it’s too expensive to afford.

Instead of receiving support from people in their own community, Sanjiya’s family is ridiculed.

It pains Amola to remember…

“People used to talk behind our back. People would suggest to me to marry her away.”

Sanjiya’s parents don’t want to send her away. They want to help her. But they don’t know how.

This is where you come in.

You could help CBM mental health field workers find more people like Sanjiya.

You could help connect people with mental health conditions to community based mental health support and medication.

You could help people like Sanjiya learn new skills, helping them to regain their quality of life and participate in their family and community again.  

Meet one of the hero field workers you make possible

Rekha is a CBM Partner mental health worker who visits communities like Sanjiya’ where mental health services are not available.

Rekha will never forget meeting Sanjiya, saying…

“I talked to her and immediately assessed that the situation is serious.”

Rekha sees heartbreaking situations like Sanjiya’s every day. That’s why your support is so important.

“There is still a lack of awareness about mental health issues… Children with disabilities often get left out. I visit 20 schools regularly to discuss child mental health issues. I build a rapport with the children. Slowly they open to me and start sharing their issues.”

Please help mental health field workers like Rekha find people like Sanjiya to connect them with the support they need.

“The righteous cry out, and the Lord hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles.”

Psalm 34:17