Daily Mail

Par­ents ‘must be told of stu­dents at risk of sui­cide’

- Society · Education · Welfare · Bristol University · Bristol · United Kingdom · Damian Hinds

UNI­VER­SI­TIES must con­tact par­ents if stu­dents suf­fer a break­down to help pre­vent sui­cide, the Ed­u­ca­tion Sec­re­tary has said.

Staff must do more to reach out to fam­i­lies be­cause they are of­ten best­placed to of­fer sup­port, said Damian Hinds. It is es­pe­cially im­por­tant when youngsters have ‘left home for the first time’ and may not have their friends and rel­a­tives around them, he said.

His warn­ing comes af­ter 11 stu­dents are thought to have killed them­selves over the past two years at Bris­tol Univer­sity. Some rel­a­tives com­plained that wel­fare ser­vices knew their chil­dren were strug­gling but did not tell fam­i­lies for ‘data pro­tec­tion’ rea­sons.

Mr Hinds said: ‘Our uni­ver­si­ties are world lead­ing in so many ar­eas and I want them to be the best in the world for sup­port and pas­toral care as well.’

Uni­ver­si­ties UK, which rep­re­sents vice chan­cel­lors, will to­day hold talks on de­vel­op­ing ad­vice on con­sent to third par­ties. It will seek to give stu­dents the op­por­tu­nity to sign ‘opt-in’ pa­per­work to al­low their fam­i­lies to be con­tacted, by­pass­ing data pro­tec­tion laws.

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