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Sheffield student hanged himself in Glossop Road flat, inquest hears

Rory had been suffering from severe anxiety and took his life in February earlier this year

Rory Shanahan, a Sheffield student described as a gifted with an extremely bright future, was sadly found dead in the stairwell of his student flat in February this year, an inquest has heard.

Rory had been studying Engineering and Computer Science at the University of Sheffield. Extremely intelligent, Rory was also described as a perfectionist and worried that his best would never be good enough.

This perfectionism led Rory to struggle with his anxiety and so decided to take a year-long break from his course. However, he remained in the city doing paid work for the university.

After resuming his studies, Rory was just three months away from finishing his degree when he was found hanged in his flat, located above Vittles cafe on Glossop Road. He was also found to have had lethal levels of morphine in his body when he died.

It was revealed in the inquest that Rory had been receiving professional help from a psychologist for a year and was seeming to make great progress, although his anxiety was still haunting him.

He had also been to see his GP just three days before he died to check his wellbeing upon returning to his course and was prescribed medication for depression and anxiety.

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Rory's parents, Jacquie and Mark Shanahan, have said they do not blame the University of Sheffield for their son's death but they do want to highlight the huge gap in vital NHS mental health services.

They said: "We think there’s a gap between the NHS support and where the universities pick up, and we feel this needs to be addressed more holistically with a joined-up approach."

Rory's parents also recognised that along with the gaps in support, Rory knew there was still support available should he need it, he was just in such a bad place that he chose not to reach out and access help. Which is something that is less likely to feel like an option for someone suffering from depression and anxiety. Jacquie and Mark said they also felt that more needs to be done to highlight how easily accessible help can be.

As his final goodbye to his family, Rory left some "kind words" on a USB stick to try to bring them comfort. Unfortunately, his family had to wait six months as the police tried to access the files, which have family have now been able to view.

Alongside studying, Rory was a member of the Debating Society and organised lots of events and debates in the run up to the 2017 General Election. He was also a vegetarian, a humanist and described him as someone that cared deeply about the world.

Rory's family have set up a donation page in his memory, which has raised over £8,000. The money will go to the charities "Centre for Effective Altruism", which focuses on helping talented young people maximise their careers, and "Student Minds" which is the UK's student mental health charity.

Our thoughts are with Rory's family at this time.

If you or anyone you know is struggling with similar issues, you can get access to immediate support by calling Samaritans on 116 123 or by visiting