Parents Urge Universities to reveal Suicide Rates

The parents of a 21-year-old student who took his own life after failing final-year exams have called for new legislation to require universities to publish the number of students killed at their institutions.

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Harry Armstrong Evans, from Cornwall, was in the third year of a physics and astrophysics degree at the Russell Group university at the time of his death in June 2021, which will be the subject of an inquest this week. Harry’s parents, Rupert and Alice Armstrong Evans, who have accused the university of shortcomings, want the government to make it mandatory for all universities in the UK to release data on student suicides. They believe that this would help to provide a better understanding of the scale of the problem and enable universities to take action to prevent further deaths.

In a statement, Armstrong Evans said: “We believe that it is vital that information on student suicides is made available so that universities can be held to account and improvements made to support systems. “If just one other family can be spared the devastation we have experienced, something positive will have come from our tragic loss.” Currently, there is no legal requirement for universities in the UK to release data on student suicides, and many institutions do not do so voluntarily.

The University of Exeter has not released any data on student suicides recently. The university said: “Our thoughts remain with Harry’s family and friends at this difficult time. “We would not comment on the specifics of an individual case. However, we can confirm that our students have robust support systems.”

suicide

The issue of student suicides has become a sharp focus in recent years, with many high-profile cases making headlines.

In November 2020, an inquest Into the death of University of Bristol student Natasha Abrahart found that her university’s mental health services had failed her. The 20-year-old physics student took her own life after struggling to cope with the pressures of her course.

And in September 2020, an inquest Into the death of Oxford University student Lavinia Woodward heard that she had been suffering from depression and had a history of self-harming. The 24-year-old medical student was spared jail after she admitted to stabbing her boyfriend with a bread knife.

If you are struggling with your mental health, don’t hesitate to get in touch with your GP or one of the following helplines:

Samaritans: 116 123 (www.samaritans.org)

Mind: 0300 123 3393 (www.mind.org.uk)

Papyrus: 0800 068 41 41 (www.papyrus-uk.org)

Childline: 0800 1111 (www.childline.org.uk)

Calm: 0800 58 58 58 (www.thecalmzone.net)

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