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Statement following the inquest into the death of Warwick Business School student, Will Bargate.

Statement following the inquest into the death of Warwick Business School student, Will Bargate, in October 2020

Commenting following the inquest, Stuart Croft, Vice-Chancellor at the University of Warwick, said:

"On behalf of the University of Warwick community, I would like to offer my heartfelt sympathy to Will Bargate's family, friends, the academic staff who had the pleasure to teach Will, and the many people who met Will, during his time with us.

"Will was a gifted student who was popular with both students and staff on his course. His death shocked and saddened our whole community and it's impossible to imagine the pain it causes those closest to him.

"I would urge any student who is struggling, or who has any concerns about a friend or peer, to contact our wellbeing team via our wellbeing portal. They will listen, help you and provide the support you need.

"This tragedy highlights a broader challenge in our society around mental health and how we encourage more people - particularly young men - to ask for support and specialist help when they're privately struggling. As we heard at the inquest, Will did not contact our wellbeing services or ask for help.

"We provide a multitude of specialist support services - including counselling and psychological, emotional and practical wellbeing support, mental health mentoring, as well as access to in-person support through personal tutors and a residential team, and 24/7 digital mental health provision.

"We've made additional support available during the pandemic to help our students navigate their way through what has been an unprecedented period of disruption and challenge. We have also adopted the Universities UK/ Papyrus framework for 'Suicide Safer Universities' and implemented the best practice it recommends to help prevent suicides.

"Following Will's death, we carried out an internal review to see if and where we could improve and strengthen our approach. We are extremely grateful to Will's father for sharing his family's views and thoughts with us, which were considered as part of this process.

"As a result, we have changed our procedure for contacting students if they fail to meet deadlines and do not respond to emails from the University. In these circumstances, we will now attempt to get in touch in a variety of ways to help us to identify trigger points to escalate concerns to the wellbeing team, who will use their professional clinical judgment to assess the situation, and identify any steps we should take to try to reach students. And if a student misses an exam and no mitigating circumstances are submitted, this will now automatically trigger a follow up contact.

"We will reflect on the coroner's comments and as ever remain open to making any further changes which will help strengthen our approach."

11 October 2021