There have been seven suicides at the University of Sheffield over the last four years

Three deaths were recorded in 2013

A Freedom of Information request by The Tab has found that over the last four years, seven suicides have taken place at the University of Sheffield.

The request submitted by The Tab reveals there were three suicides in 2013, one in 2014, two in 2015, and one in 2016. The data takes into account the total amount of suicides of students at university, not just those that happen at campus.

This new information follows last month’s devastating news that a suicide had taken place at The Harley.

The news sent shockwaves through Sheffield. The Harley was closed for the rest of the day. As word spread across social media, many were in sadness, disbelief, and shock.

On average, someone takes their own life every 75 minutes, adding up to over 6,000 suicides every year. This means that millions of people, in one way or another, are affected by suicide. Among British men under 50, it’s the leading cause of death.

There is still a taboo around suicide. It is extremely sensitive, the complex factors behind it are varied and it causes deep distress. But things have reached a crisis point; the issue can’t be swept under the carpet, and has to be tackled.

Despite massive advances, a huge stigma remains around mental health issues. These are mental health issues which will affect one in every four people in any given year.

There is no question that universities need to put more provisions into place for students. Day to day, meanwhile, we all have a duty to look after the people around us. Even if it’s just a chat or asking how someone is, small words and acts of kindness can make a huge difference.

The University of Sheffield’s Mental Health Matters (MHM) society is dedicated to helping end the stigma around mental health issues, as well as giving people the chance to share their own experiences.

Reena Staves, President of MHM, told The Tab: “Mental Health Matters Society is committed to challenge the debilitating stigma surrounding mental health. One of the most heart breaking thoughts is that someone should ever have to struggle on their own.

“We really do hope that our work will raise awareness of the necessity of improving mental health provision so that everyone is given the support they both need and deserve.”

Indeed, at universities up and down the country, there are positive developments, with students taking it on themselves to raise awareness and be there for one another.

Professor Wyn Morgan, Vice-President of Education at the University of Sheffield, added: “Opening up about mental difficulties is one of the hardest things a young person can do and promoting positive mental health is an important responsibility for universities, but also society as a whole.

“The University works closely with the Students’ Union on matters relating to student welfare, well-being and mental health and is committed to ensuring all students can access the most appropriate mental health services. We work hard to ensure our free, confidential service is one in which our students have confidence.

“These events are always extremely upsetting and our thoughts are with the students’ families and friends affected.”

The University also stressed that suicide prevention information is provided to all students as part of their university enrolment/induction including: how to look after your mental health, early recognition of anxiety and depression, how and where to get help, what to do if you’re having suicidal thoughts, and how to help your friends.

The University of Sheffield’s Counselling Service has also become the first university counselling service – and one of only seven organisations nationally – to be awarded a new quality assurance accreditation badge through the Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapy Services (APPTS) last year. This was awarded for the extremely short waiting times and the ‘talented and clinically robust’ team.

Know that you’re not on your own and never will be. As difficult as life can and does get, there are always people willing to listen and help. Showing emotion and talking problems through – whether it’s with counsellors, charities, or friends and family – aren’t signs of weakness. They’re signs of strength.

It’s time to talk about, and act on, the issue of suicide. Only this way can lives be saved.

The following are sources of suicide prevention in Sheffield

For Sheffield University students, you can register for individual counselling or group therapy sessions with the University Counselling Service (UCS) here.  Sheffield Hallam students can discuss personal issues by registering and making an appointment with the Student Wellbeing Service here.

Sheffield Samaritans – call 116123 (freephone) or email [email protected]

Hopeline UK – call 0800 068 4141

Nightline – call 0114 22 (28787) or email [email protected]

University Security Service – call 0114 222 4085