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Mum of Newcastle student who died by suicide calls for unis to have a legal duty of care

Phoebe Grime’s mother Hilary is campaigning as part of For The 100


The mother of a Newcastle University student who took her own life in 2021 is campaigning for universities to have a greater duty of care for their students.

Phoebe Grime died by suicide in her second year of university after struggling with her mental health. She is described by her family as being energetic and enthusiastic, who loved both her family and sports such as ice hockey and surfing.

Phoebe’s mother, Hilary Grime, is campaigning along with other bereaved parents who have also lost their children to suicide while at university. The campaign group For The 100 is named after the 100 students who take their life every year and is working to hold universities accountable and protect students with a statutory duty of care.

On Tuesday April 25th, Hilary and other parents involved in the campaign handed a petition of over 128,000 signatures to Downing Street in an effort to require all universities to have a legal duty of care towards their students.

Phoebe’s story is featured on For The 100’s website, where Hilary said: “I won’t give up on this for as long as I live – for Phoebe and to save lives. There is no law at our unis – they can say/do what they like. They had my mobile but didn’t phone me.”

Describing Phoebe, Hilary said: “She was great to have around. She was bubbly, she liked to chat, she was very enthusiastic, was up for everything and wanted to try everything. She was tenacious.”.

In a video filmed outside Number 10, Downing Street, Hilary called for a new ruling to bring “clarity, consistency and accountability at our universities across the country”.

She said: “We can’t bring back the children that we’ve lost but we can do something towards helping those in the future.

“At the moment, there is no statutory or legal duty of care ruled in May last year by the judge and this is what’s needed to bring clarity, consistency and accountability at our universities across the country.

“They all need to be brought up to the same standard and the same level so that everybody can know what to expect. Students can know what support to receive, tutors can know what they’ve got to give and families can know that their children are being looked after and that we can trust them.”

If you or someone you know has been affected by this story, please speak to someone or contact Samaritans on 116 123 at any time. You can also contact Anxiety UK on 03444 775 774, Mind on 0300 123 3393, and Calm (Campaign against living miserably) on 0800 58 58 58. 

If you are a Northumbria University student feeling unsettled about the news, please be aware that support is available. You can access 24/7 information, advice and support through the Ask4Help service and specialist support through the professional counselling and mental health team. To access these services please visit Student Life and Wellbeing.

If you are a Newcastle University student and need support, you can access 24/7 information, advice and support through the TalkCampus and iNCLude service and find specialist support through the professional counselling and mental health team. To access these services please visit Student Wellbeing.