University regulator unveils scheme to reduce student suicides

A £14.5m programme to help reduce the number of student suicides at universities and colleges in England has been unveiled by the higher education regulator.

Nicola Dandridge, the head of the Office for Students (OfS), has said too many students are having their experience “blighted by mental ill-health” and more should be done to tackle the issue.

One of the projects awarded funding includes an Early Alert Tool, led by Northumbria University, which will identify students at risk of mental health crisis by mining data sources, like social media.

The scheme, which focuses on early warning signs, has been launched in response to figures showing that only one in three people who die by suicide are known to mental health services.

The OfS the sector’s watchdog, has awarded £6m in funding to universities and colleges, with co-funding of £8.5m, to combat a rise in student mental health concerns.

The proportion of full-time UK undergraduate students reporting mental health concerns when they enter university has more than doubled over the last five years, according to recent figures. 

At least 95 university students took their own lives in the 12 months to July 2017 in England and Wales, the most recent figures from the Office for National Statistics (ONS) show.

Ten projects have been given funding as part of the collaborative programme, which includes a scheme at the University of Nottingham that will focus on international students.

Full story: The Independent

Author: Philip Challinor
Posted on: 6th June 2019