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Neelam's story

Warning: This article contains mentions of suicide and discussion about parental loss.

I formed the Sky Sharma Foundation in loving memory of our beloved son Akash, also known as Sky. He took his own life by suicide in September 2015 at the age of 21.

Akash was an extraordinarily gifted, caring and multi-talented child who touched many lives. In his life, his defined quality consisted of helping and providing support to individuals in need, whether it be emotional, physical or financial. He was always optimistic about being able to comfort people in their time of need. Helping people bought him immense joy, and everyone loved him.

When helping, Akash would never differentiate between people and saw everyone as equal, not giving importance to race or religions but humanity. He would often quote: “my religion is HUMAN”. 

Akash’s friends called him Sky or Ash. He was popular in school, college, and university and had many friends and people who loved him throughout his life. He was a people person who enjoyed the company of others, regardless of age, religion, or gender; he was everyone’s friend.

Akash’s heart was overflowing with love: love of family, friends and strangers; love truly of all humanity.

Losing Akash was a traumatic experience for my family and me and will remain for the rest of our lives. As a mother, I lost my precious little boy. My whole world fell apart, and I went into shock and disbelief. There were so many emotions inside me I could not even describe. I felt lost, confused, and my heart was paining. I didn’t understand why this happened. I felt maybe I said or did something wrong. For a long time, I blamed myself.

My pain still is immense. I remain heartbroken, and not a day goes by when I don’t think of my beloved Akash.

We are helping individuals realise the importance of reaching out and talking to someone they can trust. We aim to make people aware that it is perfectly acceptable to seek help if they need it.

Akash did not show any signs of mental illness, nor was he ever diagnosed. But, having said this, I did not know about mental illness or what signs to recognise or even think it happened in our South Asian communities.

Mental conditions often affect people from South Asian families, but due to ignorance, stigma, and taboo, they are hidden and not spoken about.

No one should have to go through the pain of losing a loved one. We made it our mission to prevent this from happening to anyone else and save lives.

Akash (Sky) is the foundation for this charity. We aim to continue his legacy by helping individuals in need and bettering the lives of children, teenagers, and minorities struggling with their mental health, regardless of age, ethnicity, and gender.

Sky Sharma Foundation is a registered charity set up in 2016 to raise awareness and educate on mental health issues and identify individuals suffering from suicidal thoughts. Being open to mental health can break down any stigma surrounding it and make a real difference to the life of the individual suffering.

We provide essential support, information, and guidance to individuals struggling with their mental health whilst campaigning to break down the stigma and taboo of mental health struggles that exist in the BAME minority communities. We help create awareness within communities by holding local events and using social media and by the website. We are helping individuals realise the importance of reaching out and talking to someone they can trust. We aim to make people aware that it is perfectly acceptable to seek help if they need it.

SSF raise mental health issues in children and young teenagers within schools and colleges through presentations and interactive workshops. We organise talks and presentations in the local community environment and other organisations.

Our mission is to educate and improve the quality of life and prevent suicide.

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