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Watch: Head girl of Christchurch high school opens up on her battle with depression in inspiring end-of-year speech

The head girl of a Christchurch girls’ college has spoken candidly about her fight with depression during her end-of-year speech, in the
hope of connecting with people going through similar struggles.

St Margaret's College head girl Jem Vaughan was diagnosed with clinical depression in June, partway through her final year of school.

She said that despite being successful as the captain of netball teams, getting good grades, having amazing friends and a loving family,
she found herself to be “really unhappy”.

"I was tired all the time, I lost my appetite, I was crying a lot for no reason, I had been really sad for quite a while and feeling
really guilty about it, angry at myself. My problems seemed so trivial, so why was I unhappy?"

"My most important realisation was that there's no direct path or checklist that will lead you to maximum happiness. Trust me, I
tried to follow the path and it doesn't make you feel any different from anyone else on any other paths."

Miss Vaughan told the audience to “remember you are so incredibly valued and loved and you are always enough, just as you are” despite what mental health issues they were going through.

She spoke about social media playing a role as teens judge their own lives by the “highlights reel” portrayed online.

"We wear rose tinted glasses when we look at everyone else's lives but then we take them off when we look at ourselves."

Miss Vaughan also shared three lessons, the first being that it was okay if your own story is not perfect at a given moment.