Support networks

Elena is still working on overcoming her depression, but she is no longer concerned about suicide and feels that she has learnt how to manage the depression better.

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Tan Huan survived strongly suicidal thoughts by working hard to find meaning in his life in the face of difficult experiences, and by relying on the support of his family.

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Mike relates his depression back to living as a black child in an area of the country with very little cultural diversity and experiencing a lot of bullying.

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Severe bullying at school and betrayal by a best friend meant that Ben came to hate himself and found it very hard to trust others. He came close to suicide but is proud of building his life back up again.

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Bullying at school set Katie off in a downward spiral towards a suicide attempt at 17. Following a bout of chronic fatigue syndrome she has learnt what helps her combat both CFS and depression...

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After a tough childhood in the Ukraine, Tomas was suddenly moved to the UK as a teenager and had difficulties relating to his new stepfather and adapting in school. Depression led to a suicide attempt and has affected his studies...

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Having never had significant low feelings before, when Charlie felt low after some stress in his A-level year he hid how he felt from friends and family, but found himself in a worsening downward spiral. When he finally confided in someone it made a big difference...

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Missing home at the start of his first year, Daniel found himself increasingly severely affected by low mood triggered by unhappiness on his course and relationship difficulties. He is proud of successfully tackling things without using anti-depressants...

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Low self worth spiralled into depression during Hannah's first year. Anti-depressant medication and a supportive academic department have helped her continue at uni...

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A shy person from a close-knit family, James found the move away to his second choice university and course triggered a downward spiral into depression. He hopes the story of his experience will help others challenge their resistance to seeking help...

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Years of bullying at school led to social anxiety and depression for Megan, who found socialising and making new friends at uni particularly difficult. Having the courage to tell someone how she was feeling helped her seek further support...

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Racism and confusion over her mixed-race identity gave depression a way in to Leigh's life. Grief over a miscarriage more recently 'pushed her to the edge', but she has found several creative strategies for moving forward...

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Pressured by his parents to study medicine, Hiresh procrastinated and withdrew into isolation and depression. Now enrolled in an arts-based masters, he is challenging depressed habits with the support of his boyfriend...

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An international PhD student, Alma made a serious suicide attempt in her teens and has battled with depression for most of her life. Intensive therapy has given her tools to help manage her depression and live productively...

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Issues contributing to Tony's longstanding low mood include low self-esteem, social phobia, and unresolved gender dysphoria. He has found general counselling useful at times, but feels he needs more concrete advice to be able to move forward...

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Sharon overcame a history including teenage pregnancy and an abusive marriage when a health visitor noticed her depression and encouraged her to join the local Sure Start programme, gradually building confidence so that she now aims to complete a degree...

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Coming out as gay early in secondary school added to the effects of a turbulent family life for Dani, who turned to daily self harm to cope with her self loathing and depression. Counselling and the support of friends and her partner has helped her turn things around...

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Postgrad international student Joshua has battled insecurity and self-loathing developed over a lifetime of comparison with a high-achieving elder sibling, but in recent years has started to replace depressive rumination with compassionate self-understanding...

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Inability to reconcile his gay sexual orientation and family strife contributed to John's low mood as a teenager and recurrent depressive episodes later. Self acceptance, actively seeking meaningful purpose in life and other self help strategies have all been useful strategies...

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Mature foreign student Jana suddenly experienced panic attacks while working full time and commuting long hours to college to study for her foundation degree. She found CBT self-help strategies the most useful in moving forward and is now pursuing her studies at university...

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Nicky was a painfully shy child who was then bullied at secondary school. After many years of self harming in a variety of ways, she was finally able to seek help herself and build a support network at university, including a mentor funded by the Disabled Student's Allowance...

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PhD student Dave learnt to bottle up his feelings at an early age, leaving him vulnerable to peer pressure and lacking his own identity. Depression in his second year led to him dropping out and starting on a new course after clarifying his life values and building more supportive relationships with friends and family...

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Zoe's long-standing habit of perfectionism and the resulting anxiety and self-criticism made her vulnerable to depression, which was eventually triggered by a build up of stress over unpleasant accommodation. She suddenly felt cut off from reality, but medication and self help have helped her back on track...

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A family history of depression, problems with parents and bullying at school all made Simon vulnerable to increasingly severe bouts of depression and self harm. Professional help including group counselling has helped him engage with his postgraduate course and a more supportive relationship...

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Bullying, a bad accident, and a mother with mental illness contributed to Martha's depression and suicide attempt at 16. Professional help through the mental health services have helped her learn coping strategies to manage her overwhelming feelings and give up a variety of self harming behaviours...

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A traumatic childhood of deprivation and abuse left Daya vulnerable to severe depression from an early age. With a history of troubled relationships, self harm and suicide attempts, she eventually found sanctuary in a therapeutic community which gave the support she needed to turn her life around.

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After suffering serious physical abuse from an alcoholic mother and losing his home, Pete has had to fight hard for his education and is embarking on his first year at uni after successfully completing a college Access course...

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Hospitalised at 12 for suicidal intent after her father's unacknowledged mental illness made home life unbearable, Mina gradually took control over the depression which still sometimes affects her and now describes herself as a basically happy person.

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Depression crept up on Luke after he suddenly found himself ill with chronic fatigue. As well as using self-help techniques he also found counselling helpful, despite having believed he wasn't the 'type' for it.

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Racist bullying and isolation brought about severe depression and suicide attempts for Angus, but he now channels his feelings into his creative pursuits and studies and vows to resist the depression so his tormentors will never 'win'.

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