'Top of the class' university student, 18, killed herself after becoming overwhelmed by stress of course

'Top of the class' university student, 18, killed herself after becoming overwhelmed by stress of course

October 20, 2020

A TEEN university student who was “top of the class” killed herself after becoming overwhelmed by the stress of her course, an inquest heard today.

Keana Dippenaar, 18, was found hanging in her University of Southampton halls after becoming convinced she was not performing well despite “acing all her exams.”

The psychology student's brother Drake told the hearing his sister was “very, very smart” but “hard on herself.”

Keana's body was discovered in her room by friends who became worried when she didn't show up for a Christmas dinner held in the building last December.

After knocking on the door several times just before midnight and receiving no reply they forced their way in and were horrified to find her lifeless body.

Emergency services were called, but the teenager was pronounced dead at the scene.

Police officers told the inquest at Winchester, Hants, that Keana had left five notes.

Drake added that despite feeling “not being good enough” throughout her academic life, she would always “ace her exams.”

He said: "I always said to her that it was not about what people expected of her but just what she could do.

"She was very hard on herself but even so she always pushed through it and aced all her exams."

He added: "One of the teachers at her uni said she was doing exceptionally well, that she was top of the class."


EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.

It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.

It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.

And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.

Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.

That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.

The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.

Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.

If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:

  • CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
  • Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
  • Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
  • Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
  • Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123

Coroner Jason Pegg recorded a conclusion of death by suicide.

Keana's devastated mother Carlene described her as “the most gorgeous, bubbly, friendly and caring daughter.”

She said the teenager loved Korean pop music, films and culture and had even taught herself the language.

The teen, originally from Southend, Essex, loved reading and always wanted to write a book.

Following her death, friends rallied together to set up a fundraising page and help the Dippenaar family with funeral costs.

One friend commented on the page: "Will always remember your beautiful big smile."

If you are affected by any of the issues raised in this article, please call the Samaritans for free on 116123.

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