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.

County Durham assistant coroner Dr Leslie Hamilton said: “ We have to deal with sad cases by definition,because we deal with cases where people have died. It is always particularly tragic when we are faced with circumstances of someone like Alexandra. We can never know what goes on in somebody’s mind and why they decide to do things.”

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.

“To honour Alexandra’s memory, we established, with her family’s full support, The Alexandra Wilshaw Fund to help promote awareness of anxiety, depression and the risk of suicide, and better ways to cope with these issues.

“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.

Samaritans is available to listen and offer confidential support on 116 123. To donate to Alexandra’s fund visit www.castlealumni.uk/news/2018/alexandra-s-awareness-campaign.