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September 10, 2007 | by  | in Opinion |
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Depression

Depression is a bit of a touchy subject to be addressing. I’m going to write about my own experiences, touch on some statistics, and let you know what’s available to help you around Victoria.

Depression can be brought on by many things that compound themselves and overwhelm us, or make us feel insignificant. It can relate to workload, finances, societal pressures or chemical imbalances. Every person has the ability to handle stress differently and some are simply more susceptible to depression. Since I’ve worked at VUWSA I’ve had a real insight into some of many students’ lives in terms of seeing the workload some people put themselves under and the financial worries they are confronted with – it’s clear that $150 for living costs is not enough, and that’s because the figure hasn’t been adjusted since 1992.

Anyway, back to me and my experiences. At the age of 14 I fractured and displaced vertebrae, leading me to leave school and be home-schooled, as I could not sit down for long periods of time. While I was at school I received a lot of torment from students who didn’t believe I was injured – basically, if you’re not visibly missing a limb, you’re treated very differently as a disabled person. With depression setting in, I piled on the weight and my schoolwork suffered. At the same as this, I was coming to grips with my sexuality – I was very much a closeted gay man who was afraid to lose his my family and friends. These things all added up before I discovered Whisky. So years of depression, drinking, violence and madness ensued, followed by the odd suicide attempt, but this is something I grew out of.

Not everyone is so lucky.

Statistics in fact suggest queer youth are 30% more likely to commit suicide, due to the pressure on them to conform to the heterosexual “norm”. Suicide rates have also increased worldwide by 60% in the last 45 years, according to the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention. This is a real problem – this research is based on ages 15-44. So depression needs to be addressed.

Victoria University has had a couple of suicides on campus over the years and you need to know that no one wants to see anyone here who has so much potential flush it away. This is why your levies pay for counseling, student health, financial advice and assistance through the student hardship fund, and it also pays to assist disabled students at Victoria through Disability Support Services. Don’t forget student learning support, which will help you pass your papers. VUWSA itself will represent you with education issues such as cases of plagiarism and course feedback – we can make a difference. We supply bread on Wednesdays and Fridays, we also give out food parcels to assist you, and someone is always here to talk to.

We’re not counselors, but we may be able to help you with accommodation or monetary hassles. So what I’m saying here is even though you feel alone, you never are; there’s plenty of support and advice here at Victoria University. Just ensure your workload isn’t the problem—remember you only need 90 equivalent full time study points to be considered full time and this can be spread out over three semesters. Here’s some more advice for you all:

Respect one another and treat others as you would have them treat you – regardless of race, sexual orientation, beliefs or disability. There’s a lot of childish torment that can end with you.

Counseling services are free and available. Use all student services, as this University wants you to pass and they will do whatever they can to help you do so.

Manage your stress levels by maintaining a healthy workload. If it takes you longer to get your degree, so be it. Undue stress is more likely to cause you to quit your degree before completion.

If you need to talk to me, come to the VUWSA office for help. I’ll listen and, if needs be, take you to the counseling service.

P.S Could Big Peter and Saucy Gill stop sending me Viagra emails? I don’t know what you’ve heard about me, but I assure you I don’t need your products.

Little Tim, I would like to talk to you about the penis enlargement though. Please call me: (04) 4636985.

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