Oskar Carrick's family delivers petition to Downing Street calling for greater care for students

The petition has gained over 128,000 signatures. Credit: ITV News

A family from Kendal whose son took his own life has delivered a petition to Downing Street calling for universities to have a legal duty of care for their students.

Oskar Carrick had just turned 21, when he took his own life at Sheffield Hallam University in 2021. He had previously tried to take his life six months before and his family weren't informed.

Today his parents joined other bereaved families in London to call on the government to make universities more accountable.

128,000 people have signed the petition. This is above the 100,000 required to mean the issue is considered for a debate in parliament.

Gary Potts, Oskar's father, said: "If there was a duty of care within higher education, we strongly believe Oskar would still be alive today. Had there been a legal duty for them to notify us, or his GP or anybody about the situation he was in then he would still be with us." Sheffield Hallam says the inquest into Oskar's death did not reference any failings on the part of the university, and they offer students a wide range of support. A spokesperson for the Department for Education said: "Every student death is a tragedy. We expect all universities to take active steps to prevent suicides and support students' mental health. We are working closely with charities and the sector to promote and fund effective mental health support.

"We are committed to the wellbeing of students and our first ever Student Support Champion, Edward Peck, has been speaking to bereaved parents to understand where further improvements can be made."

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