7 January 2000 – 24 June 2021
Harry was a promising student at Exeter University, enthused by Astro-physics, Computer Science and Space Technology, with a loving and supportive family. The 2021 Covid pandemic created difficult conditions for students and following some bad exam results Harry took his own life. It turns out that Exeter, along with other universities, have no system of recording such events and no effective mechanism to monitor the mental health of those in its care.
Harry’s case is far from unique. His parents and friends are mounting a campaign to make it compulsory for universities and colleges throughout the UK to record suicides, and to encourage more joined up monitoring of mental health. They are calling it ‘Harry’s Law’.
Raising awareness of student suicides
You may already have read in the press about the tragic suicide of our son Harry following his exams during lockdown.
When we asked Exeter University, shortly after we had lost Harry, whether any other students had also taken their own lives, we got no answer.
Nobody knew, nobody was in charge of recording student deaths as a result of suicide.
Then we discovered that no universities/institutions of higher education in the UK were required to keep any records. This allows student suicides to be a silent pandemic for which there are no accurate records. Surely this cannot be right?
Harry joined the university in 2018 and died in 2021. In 2017 another young man, on the very same course as Harry, had taken his own life, but we were completely unaware of this. If only we had known we would have been able to talk to Harry and let him know that if he struggled in any way he could change course or university, take a break or do something else completely – then he would still be alive and enjoying his young adult life as he should be.
As a direct result of this, a friend has set up a Parliamentary Petition in memory of our much loved son Harry, entitled “Harry’s Law”, addressing the hidden scale of student suicides sweeping our universities.
We are petitioning to get a bill before parliament to introduce new rules regarding the suicide of higher education students – we want:
- Coroners to inform universities when the suicide of an enrolled student is registered
- Universities to publish annually the suicide rate of enrolled students
- New powers to place universities into ‘special measures’ where suicide rates exceed that of the national average.
… by signing our petition. Your signature could help save the life of a son or daughter, a sibling or a friend – isn’t that worth a few seconds of your life?
Please sign today.