Q&A-Satveer Nijjar - The Mind Map
By Rebecca Durband

Q&A-Satveer Nijjar

“Don’t wait until it’s become overwhelming before you seek support.”

Published 06/07/2018
“Self-harm is the symptom of underlying distress”

Satveer Nijjar delivers sessions on self-harm awareness, with the aim of reducing stigma, anxiety and fear. 

We wanted to find out more about the woman doing such valuable work.

What are you listening to, reading and watching at the moment?

I am loving Robin Schulz, Lost Frequencies, Calvin Harris and Drake.

I’m halfway through ‘All the Bright Places’ by Jennifer Niven, a story of two teens who meet when they are both suicidal.

As for TV, the World Cup, although my daughter has forced Love Island on me too!

What has been your biggest life challenge so far and what did you do to overcome it?

It would have to have been when my daughter became ill, and was sectioned under the mental health act.

When it happened it was a massive challenge. Trying to be there for her, and maintain my own mental health.

I also found myself living alone for the first time in my life.

Keeping myself strong and sane was a massive challenge.

What do you think are the biggest misconceptions about self-harm?

That ‘its just attention seeking’. My business is actually called ‘ Attention Seekers!’

It’s such a dismissive phrase. It doesn’t take into account the distress behind self-harm.

Most people never disclose self-harm.

If they are seeking attention, it should be provided.

What advice would you give to someone who is self-harming?

That it is the symptom of underlying distress.

When you are ready, with the right support, you can recover.

Recovery means different things to different people.

For one it may be to stop self-harming, for another to reduce the frequency.

What have you learned about yourself over the past five or so years?

That I can manage my emotions much better than I thought.

Also – It’s ok to ask for help. I used to see it as a weakness.

What would constitute a ‘perfect’ day for you?

Seeing all my favourite people; daughter, girlfriends, siblings, friends

A fun activity like an escape room, followed by chocolate and a cup of tea on my sofa!

For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

Can I cheat and say two things? Firstly, my daughter being back at home and managing her health.

Secondly my secondary school teachers who supported me through school. Without realising it, they kept me alive.

Complete this sentence: “Ace mental health for me means…

Not being scared to have a bad day, not being scared to cry

Sharing the difficult times as much as the good ones.

What do you eat to stay healthy?

I don’t have the best diet, but I have just purchased a smoothie maker so that’s helping!

Do you have a daily routine of exercise or do you make it up as you go along?

I stopped smoking nine months ago and have attempted to take up running.

I try and do small things like take the stairs, or walk up escalators.

Here at The Mind Map we remember playing football and ‘tag’ – running around the playground every day and loving it – can you share a similar memory?

I used to play football through primary and secondary school and loved it.

Also, rolling down the grass in my red and white cheque summer dress at primary school.

What three songs lift your spirits?

So, Des’ree ‘You Gotta Be’, Sukhshinder Shinder ‘Aj Din Kushian Da’ and Pink ‘So What’

What is your favourite self-help book, or motivational quote?

It’s a poem for me. I first read Dr Maya Angelou’s ‘Still I Rise’ when I was 12/13 years old.

I related certain parts of it to my circumstance and mindset, specifically:

You may shoot me with your words,
You may cut me with your eyes,
You may kill me with your hatefulness,
But still, like air, I’ll rise.

What advice do you offer to friends when they are feeling overwhelmed?

Talking isn’t a weakness.

Don’t wait until it’s become overwhelming before you seek support.

My door is always open for them for a coffee and chat.

An advocate of Mental Health First Aid, Satveer’s website is here.