Understanding Student Suicide



About This Research Study

Suicide is the second main cause of death in young people aged 15-29 worldwide (WHO, 2018). University students aged 18+ make up a significant proportion of individuals within this age bracket. In recent years, there have been growing concerns about suicide among the UK student population. This study seeks to understand the factors that may put university students at an increased risk of suicide, and the utilisation of support that is available students. In doing so, we aim to inform and develop support services tailored to students’ needs.

We are inviting all UK university students to take part in this 20 – 25 minute online survey. Please see below for more information or to take part



Take Part

Click here to take part!



A summary of results from our student interviews and our online survey is scheduled to be posted here in autumn 2020.

Watch this space!


What’s New?

5th March 2020

It’s University Mental Health Day!

Today is University Mental Health Day, which is run jointly by Student Minds and the University Mental Health Advisors Network (UMHAN). University Mental Health Day aims to bring together the university community to make mental health a university-wide priority and create ongoing year round change to the future of student mental health. Please check out their website www.unimentalhealthday.co.uk or follow #UniMentalHealthDay on social media to find out more and to discover events across universities.

An essential part of taking action and creating change is through research. We have recently been liaising with the Student Mental Health Research Network (SMaRteN), a national research network funded by UK Research and Innovation, focusing on student mental health in higher education. If you are interested in hearing more about SMaRteN’s key questions or want to browse the multiple research opportunities, head to www.smarten.org.uk. We are still looking for students to take part in our study exploring risk factors for suicide amongst students, in addition to their utilisation of support. £2 per completed survey goes to Papyrus, a suicide prevention charity for young people. For more information, please look at the information sheet in our Downloads section. Or to go straight to the survey, click Take Part.

20th January 2020

BLUE MONDAY – The Understanding Student Suicide Survey Goes LIVE!

Today is the third Monday in January, sometimes dubbed ‘Blue Monday’ – supposedly the most depressing day of the year. Indeed, what with the wintery weather, short days, and increased likelihood of debts accrued over the festive period, it can feel like a very difficult time.

For students returning to university after a long break with family and friends, many of whom may be facing exams and deadlines in addition to the above stresses, life might feel particularly overwhelming.

Higher education institutions have experienced significant increases in demand for student support and counselling services over the past 5 years (Institute for Public Policy Research, 2017) and at least 95 university students took their own lives in England and Wales in 2016-2017 (Office for National Statistics, 2018). Our survey aims to explore the risk factors associated with suicidality in UK university students, in addition to investigating the utilisation of current support available for students, with the hope of maximising the effectiveness of support available.

The survey launches TODAY and is open to all university students studying in the UK, regardless of whether you have had personal experiences of depression or suicidal thinking. To find out more about the survey, please go to the Downloads section to read our Information Sheet, or to participate, visit the take Take Part section. If you need support at this time, please see our Self-Help Resources and Contact Details in the Downloads section or see Support below for information about support services that may be available to you.

The Zero Suicide Alliance are combatting Blue Monday by encouraging organisations to embrace the good old British cuppa and a chat in their latest suicide prevention campaign ‘Brew Monday’. Please see their website https://www.zerosuicidealliance.com/ for more details. #ZSABrewMonday



If you think you may need some further support managing experiences of suicidal thinking or mental health difficulties, you might find it helpful to contact your university wellbeing team. Similarly, if you are currently under the care of a disability service or a local mental health team, you might find it helpful to contact your therapist/worker. Alternatively, you may wish to contact your GP to discuss accessing support.

If you would like to speak to someone anonymously about the way you feel, you can call the Samaritans on 08457 90 90 90 or visit their website at http://www.samaritans.org; they provide a confidential listening service. You may also be able to access a confidential listening service provided by your university. 

If you are under the age of 35 and you are having thoughts of suicide, or you are concerned about a young person who might be, you can contact the Papyrus HOPELINE UK for confidential support and practical advice. Call 0800 068 4141, text 07860039967, or email pat@papyrus-uk.org. HOPELINE’s opening hours are 9am – 10pm weekdays, 2pm – 10pm weekends and bank holidays. 

If you need help immediately, please call the emergency services on 999 or go to your nearest hospital A&E department.


Who We Are

We (Larissa Barnett and Helen Adams) are two Clinical Psychology Doctoral Students at University College London (UCL).

Through our research, we are seeking to understand the risk factors that are associated with suicidal thinking amongst students, as well as exploring the utilisation of support services available to young people with these experiences. This study forms a part of our thesis project; we are hoping that our findings will be positively inform existing psychological services for students.

Our research is headed by Dr Janet Feigenbaum, Associate Professor in the Division of Psychology and Language Sciences, UCL.


Contact Us

If you would like to contact us to offer feedback about our survey, to ask questions or to make a complaint, you can contact us using the details shown below.


Please note: Our online survey is confidential. If you chose to contact us, you will be identifiable by your email address. Alternatively, if you wish to offer feedback confidentially, you may wish to create an email address for this purpose and avoid detailing any identifiable information about yourself.


Researcher contact details:

Larissa Barnett: l.barnett.17@ucl.ac.uk  Helen Adams: h.adams.17@ucl.ac.uk

Principal investigator:

Dr. Janet Feigenbaum, Associate Professor Clinical Psychology, UCL: j.feigenbaum@ucl.ac.uk

Copyright Understanding Student Suicide – All rights reserved

Create your website at WordPress.com
Get started