A Watford trainee human rights lawyer has drawn on a decade of his own mental health struggles to launch an innovative campaign to have sound mental health recognised as a basic human right.
Mohammed Sbahuddin Rafiuddin, 32, has embarked on a three-step mental health mission, with focus placed on empowerment, improved care, and education and awareness.
Nearing the end of his law degree, Mohammed began to suffer from depression and anxiety, which spiralled into psychosis. The condition took over his life, keeping him a prisoner in his own home for 10 years. For seven of those years, he was bedbound.
In the early stages of his struggle, Mohammed says his mental health crisis was dismissed by a GP as “just stress”.
He said: “I battled for a diagnosis and saw seven different therapists, spent my 30th birthday in a mental health ward, and was taking four different prescription medications a day just to stay alive.”
Now, with his mental health campaign, Mohammed is striving to have sound mental health enshrined as an Article in the Human Rights Act.
Mohammed said: “Together, we can rewrite the narrative surrounding mental health and ensure that no one is left behind in their battle for a life of sound mental health.
“According to the World Health Organization’s 2019 data, one in every eight people, or a staggering 970 million people globally, live with a mental disorder.”
Dr Giovanni Borghini, a consultant psychiatrist from NHS Hertfordshire, who worked with Mohammed for a number of years, said: “Mohammed’s story is truly inspirational.
“I applaud him for using his own personal experience to shine a much-needed light on mental health. I fully support the campaign and hope we can break the stigma around mental health.”