Calendar An icon of a desk calendar. Cancel An icon of a circle with a diagonal line across. Caret An icon of a block arrow pointing to the right. Email An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of the Facebook "f" mark. Google An icon of the Google "G" mark. Linked In An icon of the Linked In "in" mark. Logout An icon representing logout. Profile An icon that resembles human head and shoulders. Telephone An icon of a traditional telephone receiver. Tick An icon of a tick mark. Is Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes. Is Not Public An icon of a human eye and eyelashes with a diagonal line through it. Pause Icon A two-lined pause icon for stopping interactions. Quote Mark A opening quote mark. Quote Mark A closing quote mark. Arrow An icon of an arrow. Folder An icon of a paper folder. Breaking An icon of an exclamation mark on a circular background. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Caret An icon of a caret arrow. Clock An icon of a clock face. Close An icon of the an X shape. Close Icon An icon used to represent where to interact to collapse or dismiss a component Comment An icon of a speech bubble. Comments An icon of a speech bubble, denoting user comments. Ellipsis An icon of 3 horizontal dots. Envelope An icon of a paper envelope. Facebook An icon of a facebook f logo. Camera An icon of a digital camera. Home An icon of a house. Instagram An icon of the Instagram logo. LinkedIn An icon of the LinkedIn logo. Magnifying Glass An icon of a magnifying glass. Search Icon A magnifying glass icon that is used to represent the function of searching. Menu An icon of 3 horizontal lines. Hamburger Menu Icon An icon used to represent a collapsed menu. Next An icon of an arrow pointing to the right. Notice An explanation mark centred inside a circle. Previous An icon of an arrow pointing to the left. Rating An icon of a star. Tag An icon of a tag. Twitter An icon of the Twitter logo. Video Camera An icon of a video camera shape. Speech Bubble Icon A icon displaying a speech bubble WhatsApp An icon of the WhatsApp logo. Information An icon of an information logo. Plus A mathematical 'plus' symbol. Duration An icon indicating Time. Success Tick An icon of a green tick. Success Tick Timeout An icon of a greyed out success tick. Loading Spinner An icon of a loading spinner.

Cambridge University holds review after student deaths

Cambridge University (PA)
Cambridge University (PA)

Cambridge University will hold a review after five students died in recent months.

Four of the deaths were suspected suicides and one had been confirmed as a suicide. The students took their own lives between March and June.

Graham Virgo, senior pro-vice chancellor, said the university was “shocked and deeply saddened by the deaths”, adding that Cambridge was taking the situation “extremely seriously”.

He said the university had set up a rapid response unit alongside affected colleges, and that findings from an initial review into the first four deaths were being used as part of ongoing planning by the university.

The deaths had “distressed the whole of the university community,” he said.

“Nothing is more important than the safety of our students,” he added.

He said staff across the university and its colleges “work extremely hard to identify and help those who might be vulnerable”, and that students could access different sources of support through their college, the university itself and professional student services – as well as through the NHS.

“Sadly, across universities here in the UK, and internationally, we are seeing growing numbers of young people using counselling services and reporting struggles with their mental health,” he said.

Three students died in May 2022, and another student died in June.

A second-year history student died in March 2022. His inquest heard he was “on course to finish as one of the most accomplished students in his year”.

The head of charity Survivors of Suicide, Claire Curran – who had been involved in supporting his family, said: “Like any family who are bereaved by suicide they are devastated, they are distraught, very traumatised, really struggling to get their heads around what’s happened; immense sadness.

“This is not the kind of death that anyone ever wants to experience.”

The inquest into his death also heard that he had had no contact with college counselling services, and his doctor confirmed he had no history of mental health problems.

The BBC reported that Cambridge University had collated the number of student suicides since 2017-18, according to a Freedom of Information response, finding that during the four years prior to 2021-22, four students had died by suicide, and one by suspected suicide.

After the fourth death in 2022, the university set up an investigation group via the NHS and public health agencies to “review what has happened and what the lessons [are] that we can learn,” Prof Virgo said.

He added: “One thing that came out of the review was that there was no common cause behind these student deaths, but we have, reflecting on the discussions arising from the review, considered various aspects of our practice.

“We already have, for example, training relating to suicide prevention and we want to ensure that training is as good as it can possibly be.”

He said: “We consider all the student deaths that have occurred at the University of Cambridge to be tragic and very concerning. We are not in a position to speculate as to what happened in these cases.

“But we are engaging very carefully with the whole student population with professionals within the university and outside to get a better understanding of what might be going on. I am not in a position to say it is one particular cause.

“It is undoubtedly complex, but it is something that we are seeing throughout the country and certainly throughout the university sector.”

– The Samaritans can be contacted on 116123 or email jo@samaritans.org