With 1 in 4 people experiencing a mental health condition each year, British Asian mum, Sushma Bhanot has spent the past 15 years supporting thousands of women in Essex, London and across the country who have been subjected to poor mental, physical, and financial health take immediate action.
Sushma has singlehandedly and proactively organised hundreds of online workshops, one to one free wellbeing advice and pastoral care for women, particularly from ethnic minority backgrounds who were left powerless following physical, financial and emotional abuse.
Through her bespoke online seminars and workshops teaching skills in beauty and complementary therapies, managing stress through yoga classes and teaching interview skills to get a job, Sushma dedicated her efforts in empowering women to come out of the pandemic stronger than ever. Sushma balanced her empowerment training whilst running and looking after a busy four-generation household ranging from two sets of elderly parents to her grandchildren and managing her own natural health business.
On one occasion during the pandemic, Sushma worked discretely and quickly to assist a woman who was thinking of killing herself. Sushma provided counselling guidance and helped the woman obtain professional support. Another example included Sushma working for many hours in providing mock interviews for women who were facing job interviews for the first time in a bid to get them into work and financially independent.
Sushma's efforts were recognised in the Queen's New Year’s Honours 2022 when she received an MBE for services to the community and wellbeing.
Saroj Ahluwalia, from Ilford, says "Without the workshops, guidance and support Sushma has given me, I doubt I would have ever had the confidence to go back to work. I would have simply been stuck relying on my partner. This has significantly improved my mental health and well being. Since Sushma has assisted me I have felt a sense of freedom. This honour is very well deserved and I am very proud of Sushma".
Sushma Bhanot says, "It's a privilege to receive this honour. However, as the pandemic continues, there is plenty more work to be done and this recognition only further motivates me to work hard and empower the thousands more women across our country who are suppressed mentally, physically and financially. This is just the beginning and there is plenty more work to be done. I would also pay tribute to all the NHS staff and key workers who have been instrumental in helping the country through the pandemic".
Her free booklet on Women’s Health during Covid and Beyond - A Self Help Guide has been distributed to around 4000 women.