Tasha Barron from Derry said she is delighted to have graduated with the degree she never thought she could achieve despite suffering from mental health problems.
This week marked a significant milestone for Tasha, who from a young age dreamt of going to university to get a degree but due to a chronic mental health condition was unable to access education via the traditional route.
Speaking after graduating with a Bachelor of Science Psychology 2:1 degree from the Open University (OU), she said: “The OU gave me the option to study at home and at my own pace, which was perfect for me.”
Tasha was able to avail of a government grant and her success has been the result of six years of part-time study, during which she has developed both confidence and a sense of pride, which in turn helped to improve her mental health condition. She said: “The chance to connect with other students suffering from similar mental health conditions has helped me to overcome my social anxiety.”
Tasha attributes part of her success to her OU tutors, who understood her needs and helped her to manage her workloads. “The Open University has given me the opportunity to go from a broken 18-year-old girl with severe mental health problems, low confidence and no qualifications to a confident and proud 27-year-old woman equipped with the knowledge to help others to cope and understand their own mental health problems. That is something I will always be grateful for.”