Students petition for UoB to adopt a Zero Suicides Pledge

‘Losing a student is an extremely heart-breaking experience for all of us and this needs to stop’


Support Our Services have created a petition calling for the University of Bristol to agree to a Zero Suicides Pledge.

The petition outlines the need for the University to take "a visible stance to combat the Mental Health Crisis at the University" and "to end the tragedy of student deaths."

SOS, the university mental health campaign group behind the march for mental health, believe that not enough has been done to combat the shocking statistic that 13 students are believed to have committed suicide in the past 18 months.

"There has been an overwhelming feeling that despite the mental health strategy, the creation of the wellbeing service and overall mental health provision, more could still be done to prevent suicides.

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"Losing a student is an extremely heart-breaking experience for all of us and this needs to stop," SOS told The Bristol Tab.

Organisations such as Peterborough City Council and Cambridgeshire County council have signed up to similar pledges. If the University of Bristol was to follow suit, it would be the first University to agree to a Zero Suicides pledge.

SOS believe that "this would show true commitment to the seriousness of the issue and allow for constructive and positive dialogue to take place."

Professor Sarah Purdy, Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience, told The Bristol Tab: "We are fully committed to working with Support Our Services and will consider the petition as part of our ongoing review of the University's approach to mental health and wellbeing.

“It goes without saying that the wellbeing of our students is our number one priority. Work has been underway to introduce a whole-institution approach to mental health and wellbeing with additional investment in the support we provide our students in their accommodation, in academic schools and through central support services.

“At the start of the year, we launched our own Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, following extensive consultation with students and with the support of Bristol SU, which outlines this whole-institution approach to student support and the steps we have taken to expand our student support provision.

“A Suicide Prevention and Response Plan, developed in collaboration with local Public Health England colleagues and UWE, forms an important part of this and is one of the first to be developed in the UK."