Universities are being told to contact key family members, carers or friends if they have serious concerns about a student’s mental health – even without their permission.
Students should register a “trusted contact” when they start university, according to new guidance.
Universities UK (UUK) said its advice, which it shared with BBC News, aimed to prevent student suicides.
Bereaved loved ones say universities need to act on their policies.
The law allows organizations to share personal data in an emergency, and the guidance says most universities already have some sort of system in place for contacting next of kin in such situations, even without the student’s agreement.