Students discuss their experiences with antidepressants and deduce the stigma surrounding dependency and reliance 

By Kelly Gowe

The prevalence of antidepressant prescription is astounding with 70 million prescriptions written last year for the 7 million adults who used them.  

It is time to take a more nuanced approach: Antidepressants can be lifesaving for some people while having no effect on others.  

But who are we to say that someone is wrong if they see it as a last resort or something to make them feel better? The stigma must be lifted. 

I interviewed two students about their university experiences with SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) to see how the medication affected their lives. 

Valuable: Abubakr Razak (left) and Heebah Hussain found antidepressants helped them

Abubakr Razak, 19, began taking SSRIs (Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitors) while studying law.  

He had struggled with anxiety and depression throughout college, which led him to being prescribed an SSRI called Sertraline. 

“I often had anxiety in social situations,” he said. “But very traumatic situations as a child eventually built up to this. My SSRIs were paired with talking therapy, which helped massively.” 

He said they made him feel “level” throughout university and found dealing with difficulties a lot easier. 

Heebah Hussain, 18, said: “I’d encourage anyone in a dark place to think ‘If I were really physically unwell, would I take medicine to help me feel better?’” 

Unfortunately, many people are still reluctant to take medication for their mental health because society has often portrayed it as a sign of failure.  

In fact, making such a decision for yourself is a sign of strength. There is nothing to be ashamed of if you require some additional assistance. 

So, even if you are aware of the risks, your only option is to take it or leave it; our mental health system lacks ambition. 

If you are a student who is struggling, I strongly advise you to reach out to others, even if it is just one person.  

If you know a loved one who is struggling, you can  find out more about how to help here

You can contact the Mind helpline by calling 0300 123 3393.  

Culture Kick: Safiyyah Choudry

Students on De Montfort University’s Arts and Entertainment Journalism module pick the films, plays, music, TV shows and books that shaped them.

My favourite film 

I’m a sucker for a good rom-com. I’d have to say How to Lose a Guy in 10 Days because it’s the story of my life. If you’ve seen the film, you’ll know there’s a happy ending so hopefully my Matthew McConaughey will come around sooner rather than later.  

The first time I went to the theatre 

I was about eight years old and I watched the Lion King at the Lyceum Theatre in London. It was apparently phenomenal; however, in all honesty I barely remember it. Although I do recall the music and atmosphere feeling surreal. 

The TV show I’m currently binging  

Rick and Morty. It’s totally unserious about an alcoholic and sociopathic mad scientist who drags his grandson on various adventures into outer space and other dimensions. It doesn’t get better than that! 

The first song I adored 

Starman by David Bowie. I used to sing this song at the top of my lungs with my dad since before I could remember. It was his favourite song at the time and as a young and impressionable infant it soon became mine. I am not mad though, as it’s a great tune. 

My karaoke tune 

…Baby One More Time by Britney Spears – My most memorable time was in a bar in Chinatown, London. Although the first and last time I sang it I was faced with cold silence. I guess the audience didn’t want me to sing it one more time.  

The lyric I love 

“Breakfast at Tiffany’s and bottles of bubbles. Girls with tattoos who like getting in trouble. Lashes and diamonds, ATM machines. Buy myself all of my favourite things.” 

These lyrics perfectly sum me up. A girl who adores luxury, who likes pretty things such as diamonds. Marilyn Monroe once said “Diamonds are a girl’s best friend” and she was not wrong. If you’re unaware of this magnificent song, it is called 7 Rings by Ariana Grande. 

The first gig I saw 

Justin Bieber Believe tour in London 2013. I was a huge Belieber and went with my mum to see my “future husband” when I was 12 years old. I was certain that one day I would marry him but here I am, ringless and no longer a Belieber. 

The book I couldn’t put down

Twilight by Stephanie Meyer- it’s clichéd I know. However, after watching the film five billion times I myself could have been cast as Bella. I know the entire script by heart. Although the book is a little different to the film, I still get a little excited when I recognise the same quotes/lines.   


Beyoncé. Yes, I said it. She may have been amazing back in the day and I adore a couple of her old songs. However, she has definitely fallen off. Her new songs just don’t have the same level of wow factor- Beyhive I’m sorry. 


I’m going to say it again, Twilight. Yes it’s corny and everyone (by social standards) must hate it, but to me it is so bad that it’s insanely good. 

My guilty pleasure 

I’m not going to say Twilight again, don’t worry I’m not a broken record. I could never feel guilty watching the greatest movie of all time. My guilty pleasure would most definitely be cheesy 80s music. I’m a sucker for some George Michael, Queen or the King of Pop himself Michael Jackson.

Culture Kick: Abbie Morgan

Students on De Montfort University’s Arts and Entertainment Journalism module pick the films, plays, music, TV shows and books that shaped them.

My favourite film

Grease will forever be my all-time favourite film. I must’ve seen it more than 20 times. It’s the film that’s most nostalgic for me.

The first time I went to the theatre

I was around 15. My mother took me to the Cardiff Millennium Centre to see Mama Mia. I remember sitting there transfixed for two hours. I think that’s where my love of musicals began.

The TV show I’m currently binging

I don’t really watch TV anymore but I just finished Shameless US and I’m still recovering from the finale.

The first album I bought

My first album is rather an odd choice. I remember my dad buying a new car when I was 10 and letting me pick a new album in Asda. I recall analysing every album there to find the perfect album for us to listen to. I later chose ‘R&B In the Mix 2010’, much to my Pink Floyd-loving Dad’s delight.

My karaoke tune

James Morrison, Broken Strings ft Nelly Furtado. I love a good duet. I have fond memories of singing it on loop, on my nan’s karaoke machine with my cousin — my poor nan.

The first gig I saw

The first artist I ever saw live was a band called 5 Seconds of Summer. Like every other teenage girl at the time, I was obsessed with them.

The book I couldn’t put down

The only book I’ve ever read, enjoyed and finished was John Green’s Fault in Our Stars. The film later ruined that for me.

My guilty pleasure

Reality TV. I hate to love it, but can’t get enough of it.

Restaurant review: ORSO Leicester… does it live up to the hype?

During Leicester Restaurant Week, Ana Goncalves pays a visit to ORSO Leicester to see if the place lives up to the hype after tirelessly hearing numerous recommendations.

[Read more…]

Safety tips for navigating Leicester at night

By Kira Gibson

Last week I went out for a walk to Tesco at about 11pm at night and was approached by several people, unfortunately all of them men, asking me to do drugs with them, or harassing me about my appearance and demanding I get my kit off for them.

It made me feel so unsafe in the city I have grown to love and feeling like I shouldn’t leave my flat after the moment it turns dark because I live alone, and don’t have people to go meet up with to be safe after dark.

I didn’t know who to turn to, messaging my best friend who lives 60 miles away from me to make myself feel better about everything. But even if something had happened and I wasn’t able to get away from those harassing me, my friends wouldn’t have been able to help much as they were all far away from me.

I’ve decided to write a list of tips to help people with navigating Leicester at night, should they get approached by anyone and begin to feel unsafe, where to go and who to reach out to.

Stay in well-lit areas and on main roads.

It might sound like I’m just stating the obvious here, but if you stay in a well-lit area or on a main road, it’s easier for people to see you and easier to be found if you get into trouble.

Carry hairspray or deodorant in an easy to reach place.

Self-defence spray is expensive and I have yet to come across any in a supermarket or other mainstream shop. But a can of hairspray or deodorant can work as a cheap way to spray someone in the face and give you enough time to run away should you get attacked.

DMU campus at night [Photography by Kira Gibson]

Carry your keys in your pocket or an easy to reach place.

This little tip most girls already know, but if you don’t, carry your keys in an easy to reach place so you can grab them if needs be if you get approached or attacked and use them as a defence weapon. Only use this if it’s 100 per cent necessary though as you don’t want to go over the top and seriously injure someone, or be accused of assault when you’re only using self-defence.

Be on the phone to someone if you begin to feel unsafe.

This won’t always help but being on the phone to someone if you feel unsafe can be an easy way to tell someone exactly where you are and feel a bit better talking to someone if you’re alone.

Don’t be afraid to just ignore them.

Just ignore the people who approach you. Just walk away. Say no.

Go home if you’re close by and feel scared or worried.

It’s okay to just ditch your plans and go home if you’re scared.

If you’re in real trouble being followed or harassed, call the police.

Don’t be afraid to use that power to call the police if you feel unsafe in the city you live in.

Buy a rape whistle or alarm for your keys.

I bought mine years ago, but you can have a rape whistle or alarm on your keys or as a keyring attached to your bag. They come in all shapes and sizes, some as teddy bear keyrings or dolphins, and others can be big and bulky. They’re very loud and very useful to have with you when you go out after dark if you’re scared.

Take a self-defence class.

There are plenty of self-defence classes out there willing to teach you ways to deal with others harassing you and how to handle if you get attacked by anyone.

If you aren’t being left alone and feel you need someone instantly, call 999 and ask for the police. If you feel you can cope for a little while and it’s not urgent, please call 101 and ask for help. But don’t be afraid to use any of the tips I’ve suggested if you are alone and can’t meet up with anyone.

Stay safe out there.