A Dundee mental health nursing student who was diagnosed with post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD) after witnessing the death of her uncle is urging others not to be afraid to seek support.
Lara McDonald was aged just 11 when her uncle died in an horrific motorbike accident. Now 25, she has chosen to share her story following Wednesday’s World Mental Health Day in the hope of helping people who are going through similar trauma.
The Abertay student said: “About four years after the tragedy I was finding it difficult. I started self-harming, and I started drinking. When I was 17 my family stepped in and took me to my GP.
“It took me a while to get to where I am now, and I spent a lot of time just surviving, going between home and hospital. But the support I received absolutely changed my life.
“One thing that made a huge difference to me was volunteering. It was something that my community psychiatric nurse suggested to me, and at first I wasn’t keen on the idea.
“Eventually I started training to be a befriender. I’ve been matched with the same person for two years now, and I see him twice a month.”
The support Lara received gave her the confidence she needed to thrive. She’s now an ambassador for the Year of Young People and is a board member on the Scottish Government’s National Suicide Prevention leadership group.
She also volunteers with the charity SAM-H and is keen to open up the conversation surrounding mental health.