A UEA student who was found dead on campus last year was having suicidal thoughts six months ahead of his death.
Theo Brennan-Hulme, 21, a first year English literature and creative writing student, died in March 2019. He was the fourth UEA student to die within the space of just 10 months. His death sparked student protests on campus focused on mental health and wellbeing.
Bibi Aniza Nordally, a Norfolk and Suffolk Foundation Trust clinical support worker, was present during an NHS mental health risk assessment for Mr Brennan-Hulme.
At the inquest into his death at Norfolk Coroner’s Court she said Mr Brennan-Hulme had acknowledged having suicidal thoughts and self-harming, which he called a “coping mechanism”.
She said: “Initially he was not overly talkative but as the meeting progressed he told us more about his background. He told us that he was not eating properly and was not attending lectures.”
The inquest had previously been informed Mr Brennan-Hulme had told University staff he had suicidal thoughts in September 2018.
An email forwarded by Katherine Drayton, his academic adviser, in February 2019 advised a warden should check on him after his mother was concerned he was self-harming in his room. Ms. Drayton told the inquest she wasn’t sure whether anyone checked on him or whether Student Services were told about it.
In a statement his mother Esther Brennan said she hoped UEA would inform parents about their child’s mental health in the future. She said: “I hope changes can be made for all the sons and daughters at university.”
She added her son was the “loveliest, most selfless gentleman you could hope to meet”.
In December last year the University announced 16 new mental health initiatives, including one to tell parents about students’ mental health issues.
The inquest into Mr Brennan-Hulme’s death was adjourned until September 2020.
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