Universities across the UK are urged to contact key family members, carers or friends if they have serious concerns about a student’s mental health. The new guidance, which Universities UUK has issued, aims to prevent student suicides. Under the new system, students would be asked to register a “trusted contact” when they start university. The university would contact this person if there were any concerns about the student’s welfare.
Read the rest of the article here: https://www.ipgce.com/universities-contact-families-to-help-students/
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Bereaved loved ones say this is a step in the right direction, but universities must do more to act on their policies and procedures. The law allows organisations to share personal data without consent in an emergency. However, many universities do not have any system for doing this.
Theo Brennan-Hulme, who had Asperger’s syndrome and a history of self-harm, died while studying at the University of East Anglia in March 2019 because of “significant failings” in his mental health needs managed.
In a statement, Universities UK said: “Our new guidance is designed to support universities in taking action to safeguard students while respecting their privacy.”
The coroner in Theo’s case said that his death could have been prevented if the university had contacted his family when they first became aware of his mental health problems.
Students struggling with mental health should be encouraged to seek help from university counselling services or other support systems. If you are worried about someone, contact the Samaritans on 116 123 for confidential support.
If you are a university student or know someone, please make sure that you know the new guidance and how it could help keep you or your loved ones safe. If you are worried about your mental health, please don’t hesitate to seek help. There are many organisations and helplines available to offer support.
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