Sam is an inspirational woman and Women UK honour her. Sam overcame her start in life. By overcoming a really hard childhood and abuse, she is building her life back together.
Sam became pregnant at 17. Her son is now six years old. Her mother looks after her son under a special guardianship order.
Sam has regular contact with him and they have a close relationship. Although she is grateful to her mother but also resents the fact that she was not supported to care for her son herself. Together with this, she feels that she was stigmatised for her mental health needs. Sam believes that if she had received the right support, she could have been more involved with her son’s care. Sam overcame her start in life
Every time mental health is mentioned, Sam feels it’s bad news, because people are not trained enough to look at the whole picture. Sam says…
‘ if her son is not with her, this is better because she can’t be around children if she has bipolar and violent outbursts and all this sort of stuff,’ not, ‘Right, maybe she needs anger management, maybe she needs a referral to a mental health place and do all this stuff and start bringing her and her son together.’
Unfortunately Sam stayed in abusive relationships for many years. This contributed to her re-offending and drug use. Her mental health issues continued but Sam overcame her start in life.
Sam has many regrets including the trauma her son would have experienced when witnessing her being arrested, and feels that the police did not make any effort to protect him. Sam overcame her start in life.
For more information on living with mental health, read more here
‘And if they’re searching the house, they’ll break up the stuff in his bedroom, they don’t care that he’s there screaming or whatever. Previously when I was a child they didn’t are if I was screaming… ‘
For about 15 years, Sam did not feel she had a positive experience in court and feels her son’s interests were not taken into account:
However about four years ago, Sam received a community order which led her to the Advance Minerva service.
Sam has not offended since then and is working as a peer mentor. She attributes her success to the support she has received from the Advance Minerva service, as well as the judge’s decision.
We are a women-only organisation, providing emotional and practical support to women in London. All our services are free and confidential.
A large part of our work is crisis intervention – for women who require urgent help and face imminent danger. To find out more or contact Advance, please click here