Mum pushes for law change after son's suicide at Sheffield Hallam University

  • Video Report by Michael Billington

The mother of a student who took his own life while at university is pushing for a change in the law which she says could have prevented his death.

Oskar Carrick, from Kendal, died at Sheffield Hallam University in 2021.

He had made an attempt on his life two months earlier, but his family say they were not told about any concerns for his welfare until after his death.

"We were completely unaware of what had gone on; nobody had told us anything", Oskar's mum, Maxine Carrick, said.

"He didn't want to worry us so he said to the hospital not to call us. Then he was allowed to walk straight out of the hospital and back into his halls of residence unchallenged.

"He was asking for help and his friends were asking for help. Security who worked at the university halls were asking for help and nobody was picking it up. Nobody seemed to know who it should go to."

Oskar had already made one attempt on his life prior to his death in 2021 Credit: Family photo

Maxine is now calling for change in the law which would force universities to show the same duty of care to students as employers must give to staff.

She will head to Westminster with other campaigners later this month to present a petition which has already been signed more than 100,000 times.

"It became apparent that there was no legal statutory duty of care at universities and that's what we're asking for; just for it to be in line with employment rights," she said.

The government said there was no need for further legislation because "higher education providers already have a general duty to support the welfare of students".

However, Maxine believes that is not enough. "We all believe that had there been a duty of care and things in motion then our children would still be alive," she added.

In a statement, Sheffield Hallam University, said: "We take supporting our students' mental health and wellbeing extremely seriously. In recent years we have significantly increased resources to provide access to a wide range of support services, whilst every student has access to dedicated advisors."

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