Tomorrow’s Leader: Siyani Sheth

Mental health struggles are something we can all relate to and thankfully it’s a topic that is being discussed on a global scale. However in some communities around the world, especially the South Asian community, talking about your mental health challenges still remains as a taboo which is difficult for people like Siyani Sheth. 
15 September 2023

Siyani Sheth, decided to turn her struggles into a play, based on her own mental health issues and exploring topics such as self harm, depression and anxiety. 

At the age of 14, Sheth started struggling with eating and fainting whilst on a school trip, feeling quite reluctant to tell anyone about what was happening. At 15, she was diagnosed with anxiety, depression and an eating disorder. After many trips to accident & emergency, followed by a trip to a clinic in the Netherlands for therapy, Siyani found herself in a dark place but found others who were feeling and going very similar things.

Photo: BBC Asian Network:

It has been shown that in Asian British or Asian ethic groups, they were 8% less likely to be in contact with mental health services than those in White ethnic groups. Speaking on this, Sheth says, “it was very much having a stiff upper lip, and I think something else about the South Asian community is pressure, because there is so much of it to be really perfect and excel.”

Now 17 years-old, her play is set up with Siyani narrating the story and the main character explaining her story to a therapist. Siyani is breaking barriers by speaking out and raising awareness about mental health. Speaking about her play, Siyani says, “it’s very raw. I tried to keep it very real and show the gritty side of mental illness that people don’t really see. If it reaches one person who’s feeling really alone and feels a little bit less alone after it, that’s what I want.”