The grieving mother of a Kingston student who took her own life last year has begged students to take more care of themselves and their mental health.
Canan Serce, 38, whose daughter Ezgi committed suicide last year aged 18, told The River that the foundation year Pharmaceuticals student had disguised her anxiety and the pressure she was under at University.
Ezgi Serce was found dead in her shared student house in New Malden after taking an overdose in January last year, an inquest heard.
“Whenever I spoke to her on the phone, she seemed so normal and happy,” said Serce. “But deep down I knew something wasn’t right. Mums are like doctors for their kids; I knew she was putting up a disguise.
“I would like to say a message to all young people: Please think about yourselves and then your family. Always put yourselves before others, especially when it comes to looking after your health. Don’t let anyone destroy your life.”
Last month a coroner recorded a verdict of suicide after hearing that Ezgi had previously attempted to commit suicide and was going through relationship troubles.
Ezgi had been excited to move away to University and begin her life in Kingston, said Serce.
“I didn’t want her to go; I wanted her to stay at home. I said I would get her a cab every day, but she wouldn’t have it.”
Serce described her daughter as “loveable, cheerful and ambitious” and said that she still questions why such a promising young woman took her own life.
“I keep questioning why she would have done it,” said Serce. “Ezgi knew how to give love and receive it and I can’t believe she would take her life. I feel like my tongue has been cut off when I try to talk about her, even after all this time.
“There is a huge gap in our life now. She was always laughing, her laugh was unique. I miss everything about her; her smell, her smile. I feel like I can’t enjoy anything now. I’m barely breathing, I’m only surviving now. I can’t explain the feeling.”
Ezgi’s younger sister Esin Serce, 15, said she also struggled to cope with the death of her beloved sibling.
“Everything reminds me of her,” said Esin. “We spent so much time together. Every time I leave the house I am reminded of her.”
A memorial service took place in a local community centre near the
family’s home in Hackney, North London and hundreds of people from across the world attended.
Canan Serce said that she was “distressed” when she read the national press’ coverage of the inquest into the death of her daughter in December last year and described it as “extremely distasteful”.
“Psychologically, it really affected me,” said Serce. “I didn’t know it would be like this, I didn’t know that everyone would be able to read it. It was such a shock to me when I googled her name and saw all of the reports.
Ezgi was buried last January in Enfield and her mother visits her grave every day to speak to her and light candles.
“It has been over a year since she passed and it still hurts now,” said Serce. “I can’t find my way. I am still recovering and I always will be. I will never get over it.”
Kingston University offers a range of services to students who may be dealing with mental health issues.
One of the services, The Student Wellbeing Service, offers appointments for students to discuss their personal situation confidentially with a counsellor or health advisor.
The University is also partnered with an online resource called Silver Cloud, which covers areas such as stress, anxiety, depression and body image.
In addition, relaxation sessions on stress management, life coaching and drug and alcohol advice are offered every Thursday by the University.
When asked to provide statistics regarding the amount of KU students who suffer with mental health issues, a Kingston University spokesperson said: “All of the University’s wellbeing and counselling services are confidential so we do not collect data on individuals. For this reason, we do not have figures for students at the University who suffer with mental health issues.”
If you would like any information or support regarding mental health, please visit www.kingston.ac.uk/health/wellbeing-services.