Edinburgh candlelight vigil to take place in memory of students who took their lives whilst at university

Romy was only 21 when she sadly took her own life whilst at Edinburgh

A candlelight vigil will take place in Edinburgh this weekend in memory of all students who have lost their lives to suicide.

The vigil will be at McEwan Hall on Saturday 4th of March at 7pm to remember the lives of Phoebe, Romy, Oskar, Natasha and Theo, who all sadly took their lives whilst studying at university.

The event is being organised by For The 100, which aims to “hold universities accountable and protect students with a statutory duty of care”.

The group says 100 students take their lives each year but currently, there is no statutory legal duty of care for students in higher education. For The 100 aims to change this via awareness and their petition, which needs to get to 100,000 signatures before the 19th of March and is currently on just over 24,000.

Romy was a second year University of Edinburgh student who studied Classics and sadly took her own life at age 21. Her brother said there was a “clear level of negligence from Edinburgh University” and said he felt “disappointed” in what the university had promised to improve.

A university spokesperson said: “Our own internal investigations identified gaps in the support we provided for Romily, and we are deeply sorry for this. It is important that we acknowledge and accept when there have been failings, as there have been in this case.”

An internal review conducted by Edinburgh concluded that “more could and should have been done” to address her wellbeing needs, and, given the seriousness of her situation, consideration should have been given to using Ulvestad’s emergency contact numbers, usually family, given the seriousness of her situation.

Romy’s mother, Libby, said: “By failing to let us know what was going on, they denied us the right to parent our child. If I’d known what was going on with her, I would have tried to get her all the support she clearly desperately needed. But we will never get the opportunity to parent her again.

“I’m going to spend the rest of my life wondering if they had behaved in a different way, whether my daughter’s life might have continued. Maybe not. We might not have changed it, but I would have liked to have been given the opportunity.”

“I tell all my friends: don’t send your child to university and think they will be taken care of. Don’t rely on the university to do that. You need to be checking in with them all the time.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by this article, contact Samaritans 24/7 helpline on 0116 123, SANEline on 0300 304 7000, National Suicide Prevention UK on 0800 689 5652 or The Mix for under 25’s on 0808 808 4994.

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