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