Year: 2022 Source: Crisis. (2021). 42(3): 171-178. SIEC No: 20220403

Background: There are longstanding concerns over the mental health and suicide risk of university students in the UK and internationally. Aims: This study aimed to identify risk factors for suicide among students attending universities in a UK city. Method: Suicide deaths between January 2010 and July 2018 were identified from university records. An audit tool was used to collate data from university records and coroners’ inquest files. Results: A total of 37 student deaths were identified. Only 10.8% of the students had disclosed a mental health issue at university entry. There was strong statistical evidence that students who died by suicide were more likely to have been male, experiencing academic difficulties (repeated years, changing course, and suspension of studies were all associated with a 5–30-fold increased risk), and in need of financial support compared with other students. Limitations: The coroners’ records were only available for around half of the deaths. Healthcare records were not available. Conclusion: Markers of academic and financial difficulty should be considered as flags to identify students at heightened risk. Whilst the relative risk associated with academic difficulties is high, the absolute risk is low. Improved disclosure of mental health issues at university registration could facilitate targeted support for vulnerable students.