Kazeema Afzal, whose sister Areema Nasreen died from Covid-19 in April last year, has said she nearly had to be sectioned because of her grief, even as parties were happening in Downing Street
Image: Kazeema Afzal / SWNS)
A devastated sister has revealed how her grief over her sibling’s death almost lead to her being sectioned under the Mental Health Act.
Heroic nurse and mum-of-three Areema Nasreen died of Covid in April 2020, just weeks into the first lockdown.
Colleagues at Walsall Manor Hospital tried to save her life, but tragically she died at the hospital where she had worked for 16 years.
In the aftermath of her death, the frontline medic was described as an “absolute heroine” by Piers Morgan and praised as an “utterly devoted and selfless” nurse by colleagues and patients.
Now her sister, Kazeema Afzal, has revealed that she was almost sectioned after grief over her death became too much to bear, Birmingham Live reports.
The support worker, who is training to become a nurse in her sister’s honour, went back to work on the same ward as her sister just a month after her death.
The 35-year-old said: “It all calmed down and people stopped talking about her. It became too much.
“I had to be moved to another ward because I almost got sectioned while on shift.
“My mental health was so bad that I didn’t know what I was doing. I was in denial at first, but eventually just said that I needed help.”
Kazeema wants mental health issues to become more “accepted within the Asian community”.
“The Asian community have let me down more than anyone,” she said.
“They don’t believe in mental health problems. I distanced myself away from the community.
Kazeema Afzal / SWNS)
“If it wasn’t for my husband and my kids, I don’t think I’d be here.”
She added: “Covid has had a huge impact on people’s mental health.
“Everyone is struggling with different things. When there are no face-to-face appointments, you get told to call a number if you’re struggling. No one is going to do that.
“It got to the point where I wanted to die, I just wanted to be with her.
“When I see people post pictures with their sisters I just feel so jealous.
“Why did Covid have to take her? What did she do to deserve that?”
The mum-of-three said that she was left “broken” when news emerged showing politicians allegedly having parties when the country was in lockdown.
She believes that PM Boris Johnson did not do enough at the start of the pandemic.
Kazeema said: “One of the Downing Street parties was held when my sister was in hospital.
“We weren’t allowed to go and see her and they were having a party.
“We begged them to let us see her. So finding out they were having parties broke me apart.
“If I’d have known at the time, I’d have broken the rules and gone in.”
She added: “We had limited PPE when the pandemic first started. Areema looked at me and said that I looked like I was going to the moon.
“I worked in the Covid bay and she didn’t, so why her?”
When working on the same ward as Areema became too much, Kazeema was moved to the maternity ward at Walsall Manor Hospital.
She said: “When I’m at work, I feel her there so much – it is like she’s there. I wouldn’t want her memories to go.
“The staff are amazing and I’ve been given a chance to cheer up. I just want to make my sister proud.”