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Universities Must Do More To Protect 'At Risk' Students From Suicide, Experts Say

75 students die by suicide in England and Wales each year.

13/07/2017 08:06
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More must be done to protect 'at risk' students from suicide, say researchers 

A national inquiry into suicide among young people has prompted experts to demand universities do more to support “at risk” students. 

Researchers at the University of Manchester discovered that around 75 students under the age of 25 die by suicide each year in England and Wales - but only 12% of this group are known to student counselling services beforehand.

According to the study, campus suicides among under 20s peak the during April and May - exam season for many students. 

A quarter of those who died had searched suicide methods on the internet, posted suicidal messages on social media and had been bullied online, researchers said. 

The figures were released as part of a report examining suicide among under 25 year olds in England and Wales between January 2014 and December 2015. 

According to the report, suicide remains the most common cause of death for young people, with self-harm acting as one of the “most important indicators of suicide risk”.

Figures suggest that around a half of under-20s and 41% of 20-24 year olds who die by suicide have previously self-harmed. 

“Self-harm, even when injuries seem minor, is one of the most important indicators of suicide risk and should always be taken seriously,” Professor Nav Kapur said. 

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Only 12% of students who die by suicide are in counselling at university 

“We know that the interventions currently available can be effective but they aren’t available everywhere.

“Ensuring there are self-harm services for young people in every area is a suicide prevention priority,” he added. 

Children and young people who have experienced the death of someone close to them may have an increased risk of dying by suicide, authors of the report suggested. 

A quarter of under-20s and 28% of 20-24 year olds - the equivalent of around 125 deaths per year - had experienced bereavement. 

In 11% of all the under-20s examined, this death was also a suicide. 

Professor Louis Appleby, Director of NCISH, said: “Suicide is the leading cause of death in young people in England and Wales. Although there is no single cause, bereavement was an important theme in many of the deaths we examined.

“Some of the young people had experienced the suicide of someone close to them - it’s tragic that the trauma of suicide may lead young people to take their own lives.”

Useful websites and helplines:

Samaritans offers a listening service which is open 24 hours a day, on 116 123 UK and ROI - this number is FREE to call and will not appear on your phone bill.)

Mind, open Monday to Friday, 9am-6pm on 0300 123 3393.

Get Connected is a free advice service for people under 25. Call 0808 808 4994 or email: help@getconnected.org.uk 

HopeLine runs a confidential advice helpline if you are a young person at risk of suicide or are worried about a young person at risk of suicide. Mon-Fri 10-5pm and 7pm-10pm. Weekends 2pm-5pm on 0800 068 41 41.

Maytree is a sanctuary for the suicidal in north London in a non-medical setting. For help or to enquire about a stay, call 020 7263 7070. 

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