A STUDENT and part-time model killed herself in lockdown after Edinburgh University "failed" to support her
Romily Ulvestad, 21, was tragically found dead at her parent's London home four days after her birthday in April last year.
Miss Ulvestad, who was known as Romy by her friends, was modelling part-time alongside her studies, Inner West London coroners court heard.
The student had completed a successful first year at Edinburgh studying classics – but problems started in her second year.
In December 2018, she visited a doctor and asked to resit her exams, reports the Guardian.
She made two "special circumstances" applications – which both referenced her mental health – as well as asking for coursework extensions.
As her situation deteriorated, there were eight requests for extensions and she visited the student support office looking for help.
The inquest was reported to have been told she missed her summer 2019 resits and did not attend a meeting with her personal tutor two months before she died.
Despite the university being unable to get hold of her, they did not escalate concerns about her wellbeing.
The "funny and quick-witted" student tragically killed herself in April 2020 during the first lockdown.
Her inquest was told a number of university departments had known she was struggling with mental health issues and her work but had not warned her family.
The faculty admitted it had carried out its own internal review after her death which had identified gaps in support, including this missed chance to alert her parents.
The internal review by the university is said to have found "more could and should have been done."
YOU’RE NOT ALONE
EVERY 90 minutes in the UK a life is lost to suicide.
It doesn't discriminate, touching the lives of people in every corner of society – from the homeless and unemployed to builders and doctors, reality stars and footballers.
It's the biggest killer of people under the age of 35, more deadly than cancer and car crashes.
And men are three times more likely to take their own life than women.
Yet it's rarely spoken of, a taboo that threatens to continue its deadly rampage unless we all stop and take notice, now.
That is why The Sun launched the You're Not Alone campaign.
The aim is that by sharing practical advice, raising awareness and breaking down the barriers people face when talking about their mental health, we can all do our bit to help save lives.
Let's all vow to ask for help when we need it, and listen out for others… You're Not Alone.
If you, or anyone you know, needs help dealing with mental health problems, the following organisations provide support:
- CALM, www.thecalmzone.net, 0800 585 858
- Heads Together, www.headstogether.org.uk
- Mind, www.mind.org.uk, 0300 123 3393
- Papyrus, www.papyrus-uk.org, 0800 068 41 41
- Samaritans, www.samaritans.org, 116 123
Miss Ulverstad'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."
A report into the university's handling of the ordeal made 21 recommendations, which included a university-wide review of the protocol for escalating individual cases of concern.
The university said a senior team had been appointed to oversee the review’s recommendations.
A spokesperson said: “The welfare and safety of our students is of paramount importance, we continue to invest very significantly in support for mental health and wellbeing in particular, and we have a wide range of policies, procedures and services in place to ensure that they get the help required whenever they are facing challenges and periods of difficulty – be they pastoral or academic.”
They added: "The University undertook a review of the case of our own volition, as we felt it was absolutely the right thing to do in the circumstances.
"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.
"We will learn from these and continue to implement the changes necessary to ensure that such gaps in the support systems we offer to our students do not occur in the future.
"Our review identified a range of improvements that should be made.
"A senior team has been appointed to oversee implementation of these recommendations, a number of which have already been put in place."
Contact the Samaritans
If you have been affected by any of the issues in this article contact The Samaritans on 116 123. They are available for free at anytime.
Or email https://www.samaritans.org/
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