Student Suicide

Ben Archibald made this Freedom of Information request to Glasgow Caledonian University

This request has been closed to new correspondence from the public body. Contact us if you think it ought be re-opened.

The request was partially successful.

Dear Glasgow Caledonian University,

Please provide me with information on the following:
1. For each of the past five academic years (2004-05 to 2008-09), how many Glasgow Caledonian University students have committed suicide while a student at the university?
2. Please provide a breakdown by gender for each year.
3. What suicide-prevention strategies does the University currently have in place?
4. How many students have approached the university's student support services (for each of the past five academic years 2004-05 to 2008-09) for support to deal with each of the following issues:
4.1 Self-harm
4.2 Eating disorders
4.3 Stress, anxiety or depression
4.4 Drug or alcohol issues
4.5 Mental health issues not included in categories 4.1-4.4?
Please provide a breakdown by gender for each category for each year.

Thank you for your help.

Yours faithfully,

Ben Archibald

Freedom of Information Enquiries,

Dear Mr Archibald

Glasgow Caledonian University has received your request for information (below). The University is currently processing this and will get back to you as soon as possible.

Yours sincerely

Freedom of Information Enquiries

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Freedom of Information Enquiries,

1 Attachment

Dear Mr Archibald

I refer to your request for information (email below). The information that you have requested is as follows:

1. For each of the past five academic years (2004-05 to 2008-09), how many Glasgow Caledonian University students have committed suicide while a student at the university?

The University does not hold this information [Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 paragraph 17(1)(b)]

2. Please provide a breakdown by gender for each year.

The University does not hold this information [Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 paragraph 17(1)(b)]

3. What suicide-prevention strategies does the University currently have in place?

Glasgow Caledonian University through its involvement in HUCS (Heads of Counselling Service) is currently taking part in an HE pilot project to raise staff awareness of mental health issues, with the aim of creating a guidance resource for staff. This resource covers a range of mental health issues, one of which is risk of suicide.
Crisis intervention Guidelines for staff which includes identifying the risk of suicide.

4. How many students have approached the university's student support services (for each of the past five academic years 2004-05 to 2008-09) for support to deal with each of the following issues:

Until mid 2007/08 the University held the information that you require only in the student's counselling file. From this point onwards this information has been held for statistical purposes anonymously in a database and hence the University has been able to provide the information for 2008/09. For the University to obtain the information that you have requested for earlier years will require us to extract the information directly from the student's counselling file. Based on the numbers for 2008/09 we have estimated that this would mean extracting information from approximately 150 files for each of 4 years. The estimated time taken to extract the information from each file is 5 minutes. At a staff cost of £15 per hour this would cost the University £750. As this is in excess of the proscribed limit of £650 the University considers that this information is exempt from disclosure by virtue of paragraph 12(1) of the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002.

Additionally to provide gender for 2008/09 would require the University to consult the student's counselling file, thereby adding to this cost.

The breakdown for 2008/09 is as follows

4.1 Self-harm - 0
4.2 Eating disorders - <5*
4.3 Stress, anxiety or depression - 94
4.4 Drug or alcohol issues - <5*
4.5 Mental health issues not included in categories - 41

*as the numbers in these categories are small and the information is sensitive the University is concerned that it may be possible to identify the individuals concerned and therefore the University would be in breach of second data protection Principle. Hence it is relying on the Freedom of Information (Scotland) Act 2002 paragraph 38(1)(b) together with 38(2)(a)(i) to withhold the actual numbers.

4.1-4.4 Please provide a breakdown by gender for each category for each year - see 4. above

Yours sincerely

Pat McKay

Head of Information Compliance Service
(Data Protection, Freedom of Information
and Records Management)
Glasgow Caledonian University
Cowcaddens Road
Glasgow G4 0BA
email: [email address]
Tel: 0141 273 1450

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