Student sees light at end of mental health tunnel

Mental Health Week.
Mental Health Week. Rob Williams

UNIVERSITY of the Sunshine Coast law student Peter Littlejohn was a victim of depression from the age of 15.

He was suffering from severe mood swings associated with emotional abuse within interpersonal relationships, a spiral which started to have an impact on his life at school.

"I would be talking with my friends and they wouldn't understand what I was talking about," Mr Littlejohn said.

"(I'd be) late for school because I couldn't get up in the morning.

"(It's like) an overwhelming melancholy coupled with a general dissatisfaction with everything."

Today, Peter says he has recovered with the help and support of others.

Sane Australia reports: 45% of Australians will face a mental disorder at some stage of their life, 20% of adults are affected by some form of mental issue every year and at least a third of young people suffer from an episode of mental disorder.

Mental Health Awareness Week this week (October 9-15) aims to raise the issues of mental health and expel the stigma that surrounds the illness by bringing people together through events organised by local groups which provide a platform to discuss and engage those affected.

To help spread the awareness among her peers, University of the Sunshine Coast first-year psychology student Shavaun Carolan was elected as executive chair of USC Active Minds.

Having endured her own challenges with mental health, Ms Carolan has been working at Active Minds, reaching out to fellow students who have or are going through similar issues with weekly coffee meet-ups, booth set-ups and activities.

"The good thing about Active Minds is it's for students," she said.


If you or anyone you know is suffering from Mental Health Issues, contact the 24-hour Lifeline Crisis Support helpline on 13 11 14. For more information, visit their website at

Topics:  mental health mental health week university of the sunshine coast

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