Student’s suicide for not being ‘posh’
AN EXTRAORDINARY PhD student took her own life after she was mocked for not being "posh enough" and never been sailing, an inquest heard.
Jessica Small, 26, had been struggling with anxiety and depression before she was found dead in her home in Canterbury, Kent, in the UK, The Sun reports.
An inquest into her death heard she struggled with a "toxic" environment in the university laboratory while studying at University of Kent's School of Anthropology and Conservation.
Jessica's mum Lesley Small told Maidstone Coroners' Court she had been suffering panic attacks after fellow students "made her life hell".
"She really had such low self-esteem," Ms Small said.
"She was questioning whether she should be doing the PhD. She was getting palpitations and having sweats to the point that she was getting panic attacks.
"She told me people in her lab made her life hell, that it was toxic."
Ms Small went on to say the underlying issue was that her daughter had gone through state education and the others had gone through private education.
"She 'wasn't posh enough'. She put a lot of pressure on herself," Ms Small explained.
"She told me about being mocked for her accent and because she'd never been sailing."
TRAGIC STUDENT FOUND BY POLICE
Police broke into her flat On October 11 and found she had died by suicide.
Police investigating her death interviewed colleagues and were told while there had been past problems, these had been resolved.
She had been on antidepressants and was undergoing cognitive behavioural therapy at the time of her death.
In a statement, her mum added: "I knew she was on antidepressants. If she had any real issues she would tell me.
"Jess had not expressed any suicidal thoughts to me."
Supervisor Dr Chris Deter said: "I loved working with her. She was very good with the students, and she made them think."
In April, Dr Deter became concerned after Jessica said she needed to take a break to recover from depression.
She failed to attend her next scheduled meeting with him on October 8.
Colleagues grew concerned when she failed to turn up for several days and eventually contacted Jessica's family, who called police.
Concluding the inquest, Coroner Eileen Sproson said: "Although there wasn't a suicide note, the evidence leads me to conclude that this was a deliberate act.
"For these reasons, I find that Jessica died as a result of suicide."
The University of Kent have been contacted for comment.
This article originally appeared on The Sun and was reproduced with permission
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