Fund launched in memory of Durham University student who took her own life — (The Northern Echo)

To view original article click here

The Northern Echo

By Gavin Engelbrecht gavinengelecho

A FUND has been launched to raise awareness of anxiety, depression and the risk of suicide in memory of a student who took her own life.

Alexandra Scarlett Wilshaw, who was reading maths at Durham University and was a member of University College, was described by friends as a “beacon of light and laughter” and a young woman who “experienced life with intensity, its highs and lows and challenges”.

A inquest sitting at Durham County Hall yesterday ruled the death of the 21-year-old, who died in hospital after being found in her student room in the city’s Alexandria Crescent on March 18, was due to suicide.

He added: “For the record, the family gave permission for her organs to be donated, which was a very brave thing for them to do at the time like this. Out of this tragedy has come something good.”

Dr Hamilton said a report from Durham University’s student support services noted that Alexandra had been encouraged by friends to see a GP last December. She was prescribed medication for her low mood.

At that time there was no express risk of her harming herself and Alexandra had attended counselling for a period. She later admitted feeling suicidal from time to time.

Dr Hamilton said: “It’s not an uncommon background – a student under a lot of stress with the work.

“She had engaged with the counselling service and there were expressions of potential harm to herself, but people seemed to be reassured by the support mechanisms in place and she was on treatment.”

He said it was also noted that she had changed her course.

Professor David Held, Master of University College, said: “We were deeply saddened by Alexandra’s tragic death, which has left a huge space in our College and community.

“Alexandra dedicated so much of her time and energy to helping others; this fund helps to ensure her legacy and generosity of spirit continues.”

Alexandra, from Bourne, Lincolnshire, was in the cheerleading squad and was an assistant librarian.