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.  

Christian OnlyFans model Nita Marie on her ‘threesomes’ with God

Faith is a powerful thing – especially when it enters the bedroom. Here, Thomas Carter tells the story of a connection to the Lord that goes far beyond the pulpit…

Christian OnlyFans model Nita Marie, who says she has 'threesomes' with God
IN GOD SHE TRUSTS: Nita Marie (above) believes that a strong connection to faith improves her intimate life (Photo credit: Nita Marie)

By most accounts, Nita Marie is your everyday mother. Loving husband, twin daughters, and a job in sales. Very normal. Apart from the small fact that she is also a nude model. And not just any one at that – but a nude model with a calling from God.

“When I started modelling, I just wanted to learn the art of seduction,” she says, “but now I really feel like God led me to this.”

Nita (or ‘Mama Nita’ as she’s known to her fans) is a lively Colorado native, with striking blonde hair and an unshakeable connection to her faith.

“Some people thought I was being led by Satan!” she says, holding her crucifix necklace.

“Anytime someone is a believer, they’re always asking God what the next steps should be, and I’ve done that throughout my whole career.”

First modelling back in her college days, Nita would take a lengthy hiatus from adult photography, returning to the scene four years ago on a religious mission to rediscover her sexuality.

Now 46, she spends her days selling nude pictures and videos on streaming site OnlyFans to a loyal following of more than 100,000 paying subscribers.

“It was a leap of faith to even start doing it because nobody I knew was in the adult world,” she says. 

“I come from a place that is totally different, very conservative, no one would have ever expected me to do it.

“It was definitely a shock to most people, and it still is.”

Perhaps highest on the ‘surprised’ list were her parents, who found out about their daughter’s new career via an email from some mortified friends.

“They had a little heart attack!” says Nita. She lets out a nervous laugh, reliving the moment her parents learned the news.

“It’s not that I didn’t want them to know, I just didn’t feel like it was necessary for them to find out – I thought it would add a lot of stress.

“In my other work the uniform makes you feel frumpy, all buttoned up, so when I started posting pictures with cleavage or without a bra on, that’s where I got the craziest reaction.”

Astonished as some may be, her success is indisputable. Over a short period Nita has appeared on ITV’s This Morning and racked up more than half a million followers on social media.

Besides what is there to be ashamed of, she says, when making more money in the space of a day selling pictures through OnlyFans than she would in a month at her sales job.

Financial prosperity aside, Nita is still keen to emphasise her role as a religious servant, even if nude modelling is somewhat of a far cry from the Ten Commandments.

“I feel like God called me to this because there are lonely men out there who just need someone to talk to,” she says.

“One part of my calling is to fulfill that ‘mommy’ role for them, because there are actually a lot of men that have ‘mommy issues’. 

“There’s a huge kink of step-mom attraction, and it’s a fantasy they like to play out on my page.”

Even though Nita is “taking care of her boys” in a virtual sense, the relationships formed are, she insists, genuine emotional connections.

And there is perhaps no better evidence of this than her husband, whom she met during his time as a fan on her site.

“We met because of my modelling, in a Facebook group, and his comments always popped out at me,” she says, grinning.

“I actually reached out to him for help on a project, and he didn’t want anything in return, which was super attractive to me.”

Having spent the eight years prior in a (somewhat ironically) asexual relationship, Nita’s fan romance was a welcome change to her life, with marriage following shortly after meeting.

This time round Nita was determined to not repeat mistakes of the past, meaning the Lord would enter her marital life on a far more intimate level – in the bedroom.

“A threesome with God is really just inviting him in,” she says.

“God prepares me, and gives me confidence to talk about certain issues. It gives me the opportunity to be more open, and as I’m more vulnerable, the sex is amazing.”

“I have always made a point that God would be in our intimate life as well as our emotional life, and it has really made a difference with us being connected.”

Her husband, a spiritual person but far from a devout church-goer, is supposedly fine with this arrangement, or as Nita puts it: “He isn’t going to say no.”

But while affairs in the bedroom seem to be agreeable, Nita’s partner is slightly more agnostic in his view of her work.

“He gets more protective of me when I do content with other people, so I’ve tamed it back,” she explains.

“Now I do more solo content, as it’s something he wanted me to do. It’s good because we’re evolving.”

With motherhood at the heart of everything she does, Nita believes transparency regarding her work should be extended to her entire family, including her nine-year-old twin daughters.

“A lot of people have said I shouldn’t do modelling because of the girls, but the interesting thing is they are very supportive of it,” she says.

“My kids call it ‘body positive’ modelling, and they say: ”Mom, we’re so lucky you do OnlyFans!”

But still the question remains; is it really worth selling revealing pictures online if it means being shunned by friends and those in your religious community? Her answer, quite simply, is yes.

“A lot of my Christian friends are now very inspired by what I’m doing,” she says.

“They come to me saying about how a woman needs to feel empowered in her body and sexuality because we don’t talk about it enough in the Christian faith.

“Plus who knows what I’ll be doing in three or four years, I may be doing something completely different!

“If we put people in boxes it doesn’t give them the chance to change, to evolve and grow.”

In this view, Nita Marie is in fact your canonical mother. The only differing factor, of course, is found in her religious calling of truly unorthodox proportions.

A marriage made in Leicester: DMU journalism graduates tie the knot

By Thomas Carter

A twisted ankle on a fateful trip to Prague sparked a romance which blossomed during journalism studies at De Montfort University for two sweethearts who have now got married in a stunning autumn ceremony.

Love was truly written in the stars for Sam Ellison and Alice Gibbs, who were first of all classmates in joint honours journalism classes before going on together to study on DMU’s Channel 4 Investigative Journalism MA postgraduate course.

The happy pair first discovered their connection during a trip to Prague organised by DMU.

WEDDING BELLS: DMU alumni Sam and Alice at their ceremony

“We went on a DMU trip to Prague where Alice introduced herself to me, even though we’d been sat across from each other in the same class for a year!” explained Sam, now 29.

“On a night out I actually hurt my ankle, damaging a ligament, and Alice stayed back at the room to look after me.

“She spent the night running back and forth from the freezer getting tea towels to ice my ankle, and we hit it off from there.”

From that night, the two became best friends, spending all their time together for the remainder of their years at university, with Sam proposing while the couple were on a holiday in Ireland in 2019.

Thankfully, there were no Covid-19 restrictions affecting how many people could attend their wedding last month (OCT29), meaning the couple were able to celebrate their special day together with 100 of their family and friends.

Alice, 26, said: “It was really brilliant, even with us being so worried in the build up that someone might test positive for Covid-19 or if there was another lockdown.

“The timing couldn’t have been better as we always said we wanted to get married at the end of October 2021.

“We both like the autumn, and we had all the pumpkins out, which were great!”

Many former classmates joined them for the celebrations, with Lewis Bagshaw being the best man and Melinda Stead the maid of honour. Both are DMU graduates in journalism and psychology respectively.

DMU REUNION: Lewis, Sam, Alice and Melinda (left to right) met during their time at university

Alice, who since graduating has gone on to be a freelance journalist and now works in the marketing department at Next, added: “All of the tutors [at DMU] were so fantastic and supportive, they helped me get to where I wanted to go. 

“I did some amazing things, such as work experience, because they encouraged me to do it. 

“I genuinely think studying journalism was one of my favourite things about my time at university.”

The couple wanted to emphasise the important role that their lecturer, Andy Plaice, who sadly died in February last year, had on their lives.

Sam, who is a content writer for UK Linkology, said: “Andy was such a big part of our time at university, right from the first year onwards, and his classes brought us together.”

On behalf of everyone at DMU, we would like to wish Sam and Alice the very best for their future together.

Art classes project provides therapeutic support in Leicester

by Cristina Olaru

A portrait artist has developed an art class project in Leicester, offering ‘a new way to socialise’ and relax through painting.

Ali Agayev, from Azerbaijan, the founder of Leicester Art Zone and member of Beyond Borders UK, has created, along with few volunteers, a place for relaxation through art, where anyone interested in learning to paint or improve their skill can join.

art 2

Artist Ali Algayev drawing at British Museum in London (photo: Instagram page)

Leicester Art Zone is a non-profit organisation for artists and art lovers, launched in March 2014, with the main purpose to morally support everyone – in particular people in need of special care.

Artist Ali Agayev, 45, said: “Our aim is to look after elderly people, disabled people, to not let them stay at home, feeling down. We want to bring them here to enjoy the art and to relax. Many of them come here and paint and they forget their condition.”

Moreover, the artist expressed his genuine desire to bring Leicester Art Zone to an academic level, where individuals can learn the art of painting and drawing.

Artist Ali Agayev, said: “My aim is to see Leicester Art Zone as an art academy with a big gallery. Anyone who comes to Leicester has to visit us because this place will have beautiful paintings to inspire visitors.”

Ali’s passion for art emerged from the joy that he found in painting and drawing at the early stage of studying Electrical Engineering at Leicester College.

The artist said: “I found more joy in art than electronics. Then I felt in myself like a power saying I can make beautiful art and I followed this route.

“When I started many people laughed about me, about my drawings, but with the time they’ve seen I am getting there, I am getting better – and when I made Leicester Art Zone everybody again, was not supportive, but you see, I got a vision.

“I want to create beautiful things with Leicester Art Zone and thorough this project everybody to feel free to come and join, have a coffee, a laugh and paint together. I see it like a new way to socialise.

“Let’s go for a coffee and draw something!”

art 10

Leicester Art Zone painting class (photo: Cristina Olaru)

Leicester Art Zone also organizes day trips to museums throughout England, history lessons about the art of painting, competitions, exhibitions and socialising evenings with DJ, food and drinks. During the week it offers a wide range of art classes, where anyone interested in art and its benefits can participate.

The art classes are designed for beginners too. Artists such as Olabayo Ishola, a De Montfort University PhD Data Privacy graduate, are volunteering to help eager art lovers to develop their painting skills.

Mr Ishola said: “I joined Leicester Art Zone about eight months ago just to have an extra-curricular activity to do away from my PhD, but after meeting Ali, getting to know him and seeing his passion to help people through art, I decided to volunteer as a manager and help achieve his goal.”

art 6

DMU PhD graduate Olabayo Ishola (photo: Cristina Olaru)


Media students from De Montfort University had filmed and photographed one of the art classes for an engaging promo video coming soon for Leicester Art Zone.

art 11

DMU Students Henry, Thomas and Ben (photo: Cristina Olaru)


Mr Agayev encouraged people to do what they love and to pursue it, because eventually it will happen by having the vision and working hard.

He said: “You will get there in couple of years’ time and you will benefit from it in five years’ time and then you will enjoy your life because you are doing what you love to do.”

More information about the project:

Mental Health at DMU


By Elise Fairhurst

Students struggling with adjusting to university life or mental health issues can find support on campus.

Anyone struggling with money worries, emotional issues or accommodation problems can get help from DMU’s Mental Health Inclusion Team.


The staff would assess whether adjustments should be made to teaching, coursework hand-in times or exams to try to reduce the impact that a mental health condition or other issues impact on the students’ studies.

They would offer support through practical goal setting and suggestions of how to address certain issues students’ may be experiencing as well as helping students access local health services available such as the NHS.

The support workers would also signpost different agencies who are able to support students with alcohol and substance use issues as well as signposting counselling services.

Current students at DMU who would like to make an appointment should contact The Disability Advice and Support Team (DAS) or The Mental Health Inclusion Team.

To ensure that students are directed to the appropriate service they must first book a Single Point of Access Appointment (SPA) where their needs will be assessed. They can book an appointment through MyGateway.

An SPA appointment is only 30 minutes long, students will have an opportunity to discuss their situation with a member of support staff within student welfare and at the end of the appointment they will be given an action plan of what they should do afterwards.

Students can find more information through their Twitter account which is @dmumentalhealth which posts tips and a range of information on a range of mental health and well-being issues.