Candlelight vigil to be held in Leeds this weekend for university students lost to suicide

ForThe100 will be holding a vigil on Saturday 2nd March in Millennium Square

A candlelit vigil will be held in Leeds on Saturday 2nd March in remembrance of university students lost to suicide.

The vigil, which has been organised by non profit organisation, ForThe100, will be held in Millennium Square at 7pm this Saturday to remember the hundred* university students who take their own lives each year.

Members of ForThe100 will lead the event, giving readings and reflections that honour the lives lost to suicide, in addition to offering messages of hope. People are also invited to light candles to honour those who have lost their lives.

The vigil follows a recent court ruling against the University of Bristol, which had appealed against an earlier judgement that it contributed to the death of one its students, Natasha Abrahart.

Natasha, a second year student at the University of Bristol, took her own life on 30th April 2018, on the same day that she was due to give a presentation to fellow students and staff. She had expressed to academic staff in October 2017 that she was experiencing anxiety and panic attacks in relation to oral assessments that formed part of  a laboratory module.

Natasha had previously been diagnosed with chronic social anxiety disorder in February 2018.

Her father, Dr Robert Abrahart, brought legal action against the University of Bristol, alleging it had contributed to his daughter’s death by discriminating against her on the grounds of disability.

The court ruling found that the university had breached its duty to make reasonable adjustments to the way it assessed Natasha, engaged in indirect disability discrimination against Natasha and treated her unfavourably because of the consequence of her disability.

ForThe100 says that the Leeds vigil is about honouring the lives lost and highlighting the need for increased and improved resources, outreach and support systems within UK universities: “This vigil is not just about a gathering of mourners; it is a testament to resilience, compassion, and solidarity.

“It is a beacon of hope illuminating the path toward greater understanding, support, and mental health advocacy.

“As each candle is lit we reflect on the struggles that too often go unseen, the silent battles fought behind closed doors, and the urgent need for greater resources, outreach, and support systems within our universities.

“Mental health knows no boundaries. It affects us all, and it is incumbent upon us to stand together as allies and advocates. So, regardless of background, affiliation, or personal experience, this vigil is open to all who wish to pay their respects and stand in solidarity with those affected by suicide.

“As we stand together, united in remembrance and our shared humanity, we also stand as the champions of change, determined to break the stigma surrounding mental illness and suicide.

“Together, we can make a difference. Together, we can honour the lives of those we have lost and work toward a world where suicide is prevented, and our students are protected.”

ForThe100 are calling for the implementation of Statutory Duty of Care in order to prevent further students losing their lives to suicide.

*This is an approximate figure