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Universities UK publishes guidelines on reducing the risk of student suicide 

Report authored by University of Leicester expert

New guidelines to reduce the risk of student suicide have been published today by Universities UK and the Standing Conference of Principals (SCOP).

The report has been written and edited by Dr Annie Grant, Director of the University of Leicester's Educational Development and Support Centre. 

The report, Reducing the Risk of Student Suicide: Issues and Responses for Higher Education Institutions is a companion to the earlier Guidelines on Student Mental Health Policies and Procedures for Higher Education (CVCP, 2000). It aims to raise sector-wide awareness of the risk of suicide and attempted suicide amongst the student population and to help universities and colleges take appropriate steps to minimise those risks.

The guidelines also outline the responsibilities of higher education institutions (HEIs) in respect of duty of care and confidentiality, provide examples of current practice and make a number of recommendations. They highlight the importance of explicit policies and procedures to ensure that HEIs are able to respond quickly, sensitively and effectively to a crisis or death. The report also includes a discussion of the incidence of suicide (1). 

Diana Warwick, Chief Executive of Universities UK, said: "Suicide, particularly that of a young person at the start of their adult life, is a devastating loss to family and friends, and in what has been lost, to society. Student welfare, which includes reducing the risk of student suicide, is vitally important to all the UKs universities and colleges. I hope this document will help to raise awareness of the issues, build on existing good practice and help the sector to take appropriate steps to reduce the risks." 


Available data shows that the overall student suicide rates are similar to those in the general population, but a proportion of the student population does fall within groups at relatively high risk of suicide and self-harm, for example due to the age structure of the traditional student body. 

Copies of the report are available free on Universities UK website at or from UUK publications on 020 7419 4111 (10).

Universities UK Media Release, December 12, 2002

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Last updated: 8 January 2003 10:55
Created by: Rachel Tunstall

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