We've previously addressed student suicide rates in UK here on The Unedit, highlighting the alarming number of students who are taking their own lives whilst studying. Since then, new figures have been released by the Office for National Statistics (ONS) which shows that rates have reached an all-time high, superseding the rate of suicides amongst young people outside of higher education.
Initially, it was easy for people to assume that with the increase of students attending university, higher suicide rates were a natural progression as student numbers rose, in an attempt to reduce the severity of the problem. However, the Centre for Suicide Research and Prevention, based in Hong Kong, noted that the two didn't align. Between 2012 and 2016, the number of uni students increased by 5%; in the same space of time, suicides upped by 32%. Additionally, according to the BBC, it's women in higher education that have a 20% higher risk of suicide, compared to their male counterparts and those in the 20-24 age bracket outside of HE.
'Concerns about students' mental health have been increasing since the economic recession, but until now there has been no comprehensive analysis of UK student suicide data', said the study's co-author, Edward Pinkney. 'This is the first time we can conclusively say that as far as suicide is concerned, there is a real problem in higher education'.
Universities are increasingly making an effort to prioritise the mental welfare of their students, with more mental health advisers being hired across campuses, and extra funding being pumped into institutions to improve the quality of mental health and wellbeing services for those in higher education. But I guess it begs the question: why has it taken for so many lives to be lost before prevention methods are properly put in place? And how many more lives will it take before these devastating figures begin to come back down again?