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UK Student Suicide Rate Rises

Rosa Smith

New research has shown that the suicide rate among UK students is higher than among the general population of their age group.

The study, which is due to be presented next month at the International Suicide Prevention Conference in New Zealand, has analysed figures for student suicides between 2007 and 2016.

Although male students have consistently had higher suicide rates, the research says there has been a particular increase among female students.

Despite the concerns about mental health that have been seen across university campuses, the student suicide rate has previously been lower than amongst the general population.

But the Hong Kong-based researchers say there no longer seems to be this ‘protective effect against suicide’.

Researchers say that between 2007 and 2016, student suicide rates increased by 56% – from 6.6 to 10.3 per 100,000 of the population.

However, the Office for National Statistics said that the data ‘cannot be used to ascertain the risk of suicide among students’.

Sir Anthony Seldon, vice-chancellor of the University of Buckingham and a campaigner on student well-being, said: ‘Student suicide rates and emotional distress levels could be reduced at university if we acted differently.

‘More support in transitions, better tutoring and early warning, more peer to peer support, an enhanced sense of belonging, would all enhance wellbeing and reduce risk.’

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