Bristol University In Shock After Fifth Student Takes Own Life This Academic Year


Concerns about mental health among students were raised following languages student Elsa Scaburri’s death

A third-year languages student at the University of Bristol is understood to have killed herself. This is the fifth case this year of suspected suicide involving students.

Student suicide:

According to a statement released by the university, Elsa Scaburri was halfway through her year abroad, she was studying for a degree in French and Italian. Elsa passed away last week near her home, which is understood to be in Wiltshire.

An investigation into the matter has been opened and suspended.

“We were very saddened to hear that one of our third-year students, Elsa Scaburri, sadly died near her home last week,” a University of Bristol spokesperson said “We understand from her family that Elsa took her own life, although it will be for the coroner to determine the cause of death. Elsa was halfway through a year abroad as part of her French and Italian degree. The university offers its condolences to her family and friends and our thoughts are with them at this very sad time.”

Concerns about mental health among students are again raised by her death as well as the universities’ to address growing demand for support

Late last year, three Bristol students died in their first term at university; philosophy student Miranda Williams, 19, history student Daniel Green, 18, and Kim Long, 18, who was studying law. While Lara Nosiru, 23, final-year neuroscience student, also studying at Bristol was found dead in January

The university said it did not believe there was a link between any of the incidents, following last year’s deaths and stressed that annual figures did not show any trends.

Bristol had one death by suicide in the previous academic year, none the year before that, and one in the year before.

The university has launched a review to find out how best to support students with mental health needs. They increased the number of staff in support services and added funding to the system to meet growing demand.

Increase in student suicides:

Last year, a Guardian investigation discovered that the number of students seeking counseling at university has increased by 50% in the past five years. Last September, the thinktank Higher Education Policy Institute said that to meet increased demand, some institutions needed to triple their spending on mental health services.

Despite students having a lower suicide rate than the general population, it appears to have grown. In 2014 there were 130 deaths by suicide of full-time students aged 18 and over in England and Wales, according to figures from the Office for National Statistics. This increase could be partly explained by the growing university population, which has doubled since 1997 and now stands at 2 million.

The University of Bristol spokesperson said “The welfare of our students and staff continues to be our highest priority and it is distressing for all members of the university community that one of our students has died. We would urge any students affected by this tragic incident to seek support from university services, friends or family.

“In the context of increasing national concerns about student mental health we have been working with our staff and students to review how best to support all students including those with enduring mental health difficulties.

“We have increased staffing levels in our support services and have committed to invest an additional £1m per year to provide wellbeing support for students in each academic school. We will also be signing the Time to Change pledge to help reduce the stigma of discussing mental health issues.”