photoSCHWEIZ 2021
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Image 1 and 4. Junior Masandi, did not anticipate he would struggle with mental health. He is considered a ‘popular guy’ and mental health issues are a taboo in Junior’s family and his culture, who grew up in Africa. Having to fend for himself from an early age, Junior experienced loneliness and loss. He attempted to take his life twice before seeking help. Junior grew up away from his family. He arrived in the UK from the Republic of Congo with his stepmother at the age of ten. They didn’t get along, and she threw him out of the house when he was 15. From then onwards, he was forced to look after himself, couch surfing and eating at friend’s homes to get by. Football was a big part of Junior’s youth, and he was close to his coach, who got him his football shoes and even asked Junior to live with him. He suspects something happened at his coach’s house as one night is a complete blur, and he has no recollection beyond flashbacks of waking up in his bed and falling back to sleep. The coach later pleaded guilty to abusing young children and is now serving a seven-year sentence in prison.