Photo of António at the EastEnders set, in front of the street sign, Albert Square.
Photo of antonio,

The Lemonade Journey is my depiction of my journey through mental illness. When I am asked how I was able to turn my traumatic experience of mental ill-health and being hospitalised into a beacon of hope, I respond:

"When life throws you lemons: you have to learn to make lemonade. But you have to decide what type of lemonade to make. And then you have to accept support to make it".

I was diagnosed with Undifferentiated Schizophrenia and Emotionally Unstable Personality Disorder as a teenager. I experienced auditory hallucinations, which took over my life. At 16, I attempted to take my life and, as a result, became an inpatient in a mental health ward. That experience went on to shape my ambition.

"Recovery can vary depending on the individual's willingness to get better."

I withhold little shame or blame for what I experienced. Instead, I am humbled by what the journey taught me.

Since then it has become my mission to campaign for anti-racism within the mental health sector, intending to shift the way the UK views and addresses mental ill-health within racialised communities. As well as now studying Psychology with Cognitive Neuroscience at the University of Essex, I speak and advise professionally as an expert through lived experience in the private and public sectors.

"In my world, young and Black people with mental health problems are treated fairly and equally and no longer discriminated against."