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5 Bristol university student suicides since the start of this academic year. Why?

(114 Posts)
Restorativepowersoftea Wed 29-Mar-17 18:00:59

This is so sad and such a shock. Why so many at Bristol though?

Restorativepowersoftea Wed 29-Mar-17 18:01:36

titchy Wed 29-Mar-17 20:30:31

I don't think speculating on a tragic situation is particularly helpful. hmm

I'm sure the university will be reviewing the services it offers in the light of this.

Restorativepowersoftea Wed 29-Mar-17 20:45:36

Of course it's a tragic situation titchy, and I'm not scaremongering but feel prospective students and their parents want to know that they/their children will be supported on at a popular and highly regarded university. If that isn't the case at Bristol at present (this academic year so far) and If Bristol students in particular are under more pressure and have less support than say another similar university, I as a parent of a teen going to university next year, would like to know.

That is all.

disappearingfish Wed 29-Mar-17 21:25:30

It is a terrible tragedy but highly unlikely to be indicative of a systematic failure of the University, or mean that you are more likely to commit suicide if you go to Bristol than any other university.

MH issues are growing amongst all populations of young people and the NHS treatment available is very poor. Universities do their best but they can't be substitutes for front line health services.

Peaceandl0ve Wed 29-Mar-17 22:39:26

Just to stand in defence of Bristol, my DD Is a current yr 1 student at the Uni. In jan she felt a bit lost and overwhelmed, went to student support, got a a series of one to one counselling sessions sorted pretty quickly. These helped enormously and she is now back on track. The uni has been fab, the students have to be prepared, soemtime with encouragement from home, to seek support.
This ismpf course just my anecdote, it is very hard for students these days.

alreadytaken Thu 30-Mar-17 06:44:11

there was a similar thread last year - dont remember which university. If it was Bristol then I'd be concerned.

Leaving home is a difficult time for teenagers. They need to be gradually prepared for it by independent trips away from home, by learning to take care of their clothes, to cook, to manage their finances. They need to know you are at the end of a phone for backup, how to approach support services locally and that they can come home if necessary.

They also need to learn how and when to encourage friends to seek help. My (then) teenager was able to support a couple of friends to seek help (not at Bristol) and they graduated with the rest of their year.

disappearingfish Thu 30-Mar-17 06:48:38

I don't mean to belittle the normal difficulties of leaving home, but the students who committed suicide had problems way beyond that. Some at least had MH problems before going to university.

TBH I think young people sometimes go to university when their MH is not up to it. I don't know what the answer is but university is a fast paced and demanding environment. People with poor MH need to think carefully whether it's right for them.

DaisyBlameless Thu 30-Mar-17 07:10:28

We may never know why, but how tragic to see another young person taking their own life.

Brokenbiscuit Thu 30-Mar-17 07:19:47

Most universities are struggling with the massive increase of mental health problems in the student population. There is evidence to suggest that young people are becoming less and less resilient. We need to look at what's happening before they go to university in order to really understand this properly, I think.

What happened at Bristol is tragic. Perhaps the university could have done more, or perhaps it was just a tragic coincidence that five students chose to take their own lives. Either way, I think this is part of a much bigger, national problem.

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Thu 30-Mar-17 07:25:58

Yes I remember last year's thread - I can't remember whether it was Bristol. If it was, that's worrying. If it wasn't then it's more indicative of random clumping. Clearly above average, (average would be about two) and five too many, but whether that's Bristol's fault isn't clear.

Eastpoint Thu 30-Mar-17 07:32:47

There was a thread last year & it was about Bristol as there were 3 suicides in the autumn term. It is a great shame that these young people were so unhappy and felt unable to access help, their poor families.

GloriaV Thu 30-Mar-17 07:34:24

I stayed in Stirling Uni many moons ago as an OU student. Lots of stuff about it being a leading uni in blah blah and blah, then I came across stats which said it had the highest suicide rates in Scotland.
The accommodation was dire (new) but no sound proofing between tiny rooms and loud banging fire doors at each end of the corridor on every floor. That would have driven me mad over time through lack of sleep. It was the days before personal stereos etc too. I was only there a week thank goodness.

Eastpoint Thu 30-Mar-17 07:36:45

This is an interesting from The Mancunian

Eastpoint Thu 30-Mar-17 07:37:07


Iris65 Thu 30-Mar-17 07:37:08

There is evidence that suicide is 'contagious'. It increases the risk of suicide in those around them. Its one of the reasons that there are guidelines for reporting suicide in the media.

YellowPrimula Thu 30-Mar-17 07:46:28

It was Bristol last year . Whilst I don't think it's the University's fault and it's probable that there were multiple factors at play etc , anecdotally I do think that Bristol can be quite a tough place to be a student, it is I interesting that in student satisfaction surveys it scores very low for a number of courses .

It also has the highest proportion of independently educated students , even higher than Oxford, ( my dc are independently educated so that is not a criticism just a fact) and there is a lot of money about , the halls are very expensive and so is rental in second and third years .Inevetibly for such a popular university it also has a high number of type A personalities and perfectionists.

Of the 5 or 6 young people I have known there , three have really not enjoyed it , the others have loved it but are also the types to have a natural home like hockey or choir etc .

2014newme Thu 30-Mar-17 07:48:18

How does it comparable with previous years?
How does it compare with other universities?
Without that info it's difficult to assess

blueskyinmarch Thu 30-Mar-17 07:53:03

My DD2 is in first year there. She is really loving it and has made a great group of friends. After the first spate of suicides she said that the university advised them all to come and talk with someone if they were struggling in any way.

I don’t know about the other 4 students but this girl appears to have been away on her gap year and died near her home. It may have had nothing at all to do with her studies/Bristol but may have been something else entirely. I guess with suicide it is something you don’t really get to know.

Very sad for her family and all the other families.

Peanutbuttercheese Thu 30-Mar-17 08:28:13

I have worked in 2 Red Brick Universities and both had quite a few suicides during the years I worked there.They just don't usually hit the headlines.

At one point a long time before I worked there they shut the tall tower at the University of Birmingham due to suicides.

exexpat Thu 30-Mar-17 08:39:43

I think there are several things happening here, including 1) when the media has already reported on something recently it becomes newsworthy, so a Bristol student death is reported nationally, when a suicide linked to any other university would not, and 2) there is a contagion effect in suicide, particularly among young people, e.g. remember all the panic about Bridgend?

This is one of the reasons why there are guidelines on reporting suicide, to try to minimise the possibility of encouraging others to follow suit:

TinklyLittleLaugh Thu 30-Mar-17 15:34:55

DD is at University and lives in a house with six "perfectionist" type girls: they all have the looks, the grades, and are desperate to be seen as cool.

They all seem to have mental health issues and eating disorders. They all seem to be on medication and also use a lot of drugs (self medicate). They also seem to sleep around or have "friends with benefits" rather than relationships. My DD has gone from happy go lucky party girl to anxious and lacking in self esteem. She has never been around such a bitchy, cliquey crowd before. And my DD is "in". To be on the fringes or not "in" must be even more horrible.

Currently DD is having counselling (Uni have been excellent) and broadening her circle of friends. She is getting better. But I would have said my daughter was quite mentally robust. Clearly there is something happening to our kids at uni.

Backingvocals Thu 30-Mar-17 15:42:18

That's scary & familiar tinkly

DD is only 10 but I recognise this clique already. I take comfort in the fact that she is quite resilient but scary that your DD was too yet her self esteem still took a hammering. I'm so glad she's finding a way through with counselling and a nicer crowd.

And I also have to remind myself that I hated all three years at university and that life, on the whole, gets better as you get older and you give much less of a shit. Hard to communicate that to our young people but it's so, so true (at least for me).

Best wishes to all on the thread looking out for young people's MH.

muttrat Thu 30-Mar-17 15:47:28

I think some of the newer unis (or ex polys as they are always called on MN hmm) can have better pastoral support.

ActuallyThatsSUPREMECommander Thu 30-Mar-17 16:00:05

I'm not sure that it's worse to be excluded from the in crowd actually. At school some children will actively go out of their way to bully the funny looking nerdy kid. But by the time they get to college they've matured sufficiently to only bitch at them behind their back and actually, in a large university, what you don't hear doesn't hurt you. I had a whale of a time at university hanging out with uncool, spotty, broke dungeons and dragons players. And yes I'm sure some of the cool types who are now running Westminster and the BBC mocked us but we were far too busy having fun and writing essays to give a toss.

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