The mother of a university student who took his own life has vowed “no more lives will be lost” as a campaign to make universities more responsible for student mental health heads to Parliament.

Speaking about the debate next month Maxine Carrick, who lost her son Oskar to suicide in 2021 said: “We won’t give up. We won’t go away, because we’ve already lost something too precious. And I think they need to realise that we will not go away.”

Maxine is working with other bereaved families as a part of The LEARN Network and #Forthe100, to protect the mental health of students by campaigning for universities to legally provide a duty of care to their students. 

The debate is due to take place on June 5 after the petition, which received 128,293 signatures was handed into Downing Street on April 25. 

She said: “I’m determined that no more lives will be lost, because this is horrible. We live in a nightmare. And we all believe it was avoidable.”

Maxine’s son went off to Sheffield Hallam University in 2021, leaving his home in Kendal. Before moving in, Oskar filled out a disabled student assessment (DSA) form to notify the university about his head injury which had occurred 18 months earlier in a car accident. 

The accident resulted in Oskar suffering from a brain bleed which caused him to experience memory loss and swelling of his head. He had been discharged from care at home and was planning to get a GP in Sheffield upon starting university.

Maxine said that Oskar began to spiral in Spring 2022, when his friends began to be concerned about him and booked him an appointment at the university’s wellbeing service. 

In the two weeks between contacting the service and the appointment itself, Oskar attempted to take his own life. He was taken to the Hallamshire hospital but later discharged and allowed back into his university accommodation, deemed low risk.

Oskar met with the wellbeing service in late May, when he consented to having his information shared with his parents and GP. However, Maxine said Sheffield Hallam did not make any contact with her.

Three weeks later, Oskar took his own life.

The university’s alleged actions do not appear to follow advice given by PAPYRUS, a charity working to prevent young suicides.

Ged Flynn, chief executive of PAPYRUS, said: ”We would encourage, where possible, for universities to adopt a policy whereby they have permission from their students to contact their next of kin should there be any concerns around their mental health, unless the student has chosen to opt out of this.”

Maxine said: “We had filled in a consent form when he enrolled. I thought it was an opt-in to being informed about his mental health issues but I was told afterwards that it was just a bog-standard consent form.

“I want my children who are still at university to have the same protection under law as their lecturers have. That’s it. That’s all I want. I don’t want any more.

“If I’d tried to take my own life, like Oscar did in a work building, I wouldn’t have been allowed back in until there had been a risk assessment done. There was no risk assessment put in place with Oscar. HR would have been dealing with me, I would have been signed off. My next of kin would have been contacted.”

The Higher Education Policy Institute defines a duty of care on its website: “University staff are also adults, and yet the sector has a statutory duty of care to protect the health, safety, and welfare of its employees — including an obligation to ensure that nobody on the payroll suffers stress-related illness as a result of their daily toil.”

Sheffield Hallam University has denied any wrongdoing in relation to Oskar Carrick’s death.

A spokesperson for the university said: “The inquest into Oskar’s tragic death did not reference any failings on the part of the University. The coroner also commented that she was content the University was engaging with discussions surrounding consent on a sector-wide national level.”

Sheffield Hallam University denied holding information on the number of confirmed suicides by students.

However, #Forthe100 estimate that around 100 university students end their own lives each year.

For practical, confidential suicide prevention help and advice please contact PAPYRUS HOPELINEUK on 0800 068 4141, text 07860 039967 or email