Seventh ‘suicide’ at same uni in 15 months

A prospective lawyer has become the seventh student from the same university to apparently take their own life in little over a year.

The body of Justin Cheng, a third year law student at the University of Bristol, was found on the evening of 12 January.

Police have told the university that they believe the 20-year-old Canadian had taken his own life, with the coroner to hold an inquest in due course.

He was found away from the university and the circumstances are not suspicious.

Six other youngsters at the Russell Group university are thought to have committed suicide since October 2016.

Elsa Scaburri, a third year student at the University of Bristol, took her own life last year. Pic: Facebook

Image: Elsa Scaburri, a third year student at the University of Bristol, took her own life last year. Pic: Facebook

Mark Ames, director of student services at the university, said: “It is immensely distressing for members of our university community to learn that one of our students has died. We know that this will be especially difficult for those who knew and studied with Justin.

“We will continue to work with our students, staff and with partners across the city, including colleagues from public health and the NHS, to enhance our services in response to the unprecedented rise in mental health difficulties amongst young people.

“Justin’s family have requested privacy at this very difficult time.

“Our thoughts and sympathies are with his family and friends.”

Second year student James Thomson was found dead in his bedroom last October

Image: Second year student James Thomson was found dead in his bedroom last October. Pic: Facebook

In January last year, the Bristol Post reported that final year neuroscience student Lara Nosiru had been found dead at the bottom of Avon Gorge. Third year student Elsa Scaburri died at her home near Salisbury in March and second year James Thomson was found dead in his bedroom by a close friend last October.

Three first year students – Miranda Williams, 19, Kim Long, 18, and Daniel Green, 18 – all took their own lives just weeks into their degrees in October 2016.

Inquests found that none of the deaths were linked.

Kim Long took his own life just weeks into his first year at the university

Image: Kim Long took his own life just weeks into his first year at the university. Pic: Facebook

A university spokesman told Sky News: “In the context of increasing national concerns about student mental health, the university began a review of our support for students in the summer of 2016.

“This work was done in conjunction with our students and the Students’ Union. As a result we are investing an additional £1m annually in a new Student Wellbeing Service that will complement existing services.

“This will see staff embedded in every academic school from the end of February who are well placed to identify and assist students at an early stage who might be struggling, so they can be offered support before any issues start to escalate.

“In addition, universities are experiencing a significant increase in the number of students who are experiencing temporary acute psychological distress associated with life events such as relationship breakdowns and bereavement.

“They are also seeing a welcome rise in the number of students who are able to study successfully while managing an enduring mental health difficulty, such as anxiety or depression.

“These conditions will continue to require more specialised services, and, as such, we are also investing additional resources in our Student Counselling Service and Students’ Health Service.

“This includes a new Mental Health Advice Team that will work proactively with students managing severe and enduring mental health difficulties to access healthcare in a timely manner and navigate their student experience more effectively.”

One suicide was also reported in the city’s other university – the University of the West of England – in May last year.

First year law student Sam Symons was found in his room in the student halls on the university’s main campus.

More from Bristol

:: Anyone feeling emotionally distressed or suicidal can call Samaritans for help on 116 123, or email [email protected] in the UK.

:: This year’s University Mental Health Day, the national campaign to focus efforts on promoting the mental health of people who live, work and study in higher education, is on 1 March. To find out if your university is involved, visit unimentalhealthday.co.uk.