Mother pays tribute to fun, kind and caring Newcastle University student who took her own life


A mother has paid tribute to her ‘fun, selfless, kind, compassionate, generous and caring’ daughter after taking her own life.

Phoebe Grime from Kent was a 20-year-old second year student at Newcastle University, eager to spend a summer surfing and put her philosophy degree to good use in a future career.

But on June 3 last year she was found hanged in the bedroom of her student accommodation in Jesmond, Newcastle, and died two days later at the city’s Royal Victoria Infirmary. In a notebook found in her room by the police, Phoebe had expressed her love for her family and expressed her wishes for her funeral.

Read more: Newcastle University experts call on government to end ‘criminalization’ of mental illness

Describing her daughter, Hilary Grime said: ‘I’m so proud of Phoebe. I feel very lucky to have had her for the 20 years I have lived. She was fun, she was selfless, kind, compassionate, generous, caring, extremely passionate about the environment, moral and she was generous. She was athletic, smart and beautiful.

“She was great to have around. She was bubbly, she liked to chat, she was very enthusiastic, was up for anything and wanted to try anything. She loved the college Wildcats ice hockey team and surfing. She loved extreme sports. She was tenacious. »

Phoebe Grime, a philosophy student at Newcastle University, died in June 2021

Ms Grime said she was speaking out in the hope that she could prevent what happened to Phoebe from happening to “another family, another student, another young person”.

And she urged all universities in the UK to take inspiration from the book by the University of Bristol, which set up an opt-in suicide prevention program four years ago giving the establishment teaching explicit permission to contact a student’s parents if they are struggling mentally or emotionally with campus life.

Ms Grime said: “I would always have done anything for Phoebe. I would always do anything for Phoebe. Phoebe would have wanted me to go on and try to find meaning in my life, which would be to save other young lives I will do it in his honor.

She added: “My ultimate hope is that as a society we will be kinder and more compassionate to ourselves and to those around us.” This, she said, would go “to some extent to protect us all from the devastation of suicide”.

An inquest into Phoebe’s death held in Newcastle revealed she had attended counseling sessions and expressed a wish to kill herself before.

Phoebe Grime was a second-year philosophy student at Newcastle University when she took her own life in June 2021
Phoebe Grime was a second-year philosophy student at Newcastle University when she took her own life in June 2021

During her first year at Newcastle University, she had struggled with the anxiety associated with being a youngster moving away from home and received academic counseling and academic support.

But Newcastle Coroner’s Court heard that after the 2020 summer holidays, the problems had once again developed to a more worrying level following a specific suicide plan that Phoebe had drawn up.

She was referred by the university to partner mental health services, was prescribed anti-depressants by her GP and her father accessed a private psychotherapy service on his behalf. Phoebe’s academic support had also been increased by Newcastle University.

However, things got worse for Phoebe in April 2021, when her father was diagnosed with terminal cancer and she broke off her relationship. Academic and advisory support was again offered by Newcastle University and she continued her private sessions.

The hearing heard that during this time, Phoebe had no indication that she intended to self-harm as she suggested the previous October, or that there had been a repeat of a plan. specific that could have justified a different approach from the university or its private sector. psychotherapist.

Delivering a verdict of suicide, Newcastle and North Tyneside Deputy Coroner Karin Welsh said: ‘In short, and having looked at things very carefully, I cannot identify any point where things should have been done differently. for Phoebe by anyone involved in supporting her.

“I have alluded to information left by Phoebe which shows a clear intention on her part to end her life. And therefore, on a balance of probabilities, my conclusion must be that of suicide.

Speaking directly to Phoebe’s mother, older brother Hamish Grime and other family members who attended the inquest, Ms Welsh said: “To Phoebe’s family, may I express my sincere condolences. I can’t begin to imagine what the family has been through given all of the circumstances. I can only hope, however, that the conclusion of our involvement will bring some relief to his family.

In a statement, Newcastle University Academic Registrar Lucy Backhurst offered her condolences to Phoebe’s family and friends. She said: “Phoebe was a talented and popular student with great potential and all who had the pleasure of knowing her during her time at Newcastle University will remember her fondly.

Phoebe Grime was a huge fan of the Newcastle University Wildcats ice hockey team and loved extreme sports
Phoebe Grime was a huge fan of the Newcastle University Wildcats ice hockey team and loved extreme sports

“During the 18 months she studied with us, Phoebe received continuous help and we worked hard to support her throughout her studies. A support plan was in place to help her through college, and she had a dedicated counselor helping her through a very difficult time.

“Like all schools, colleges and universities, we are keenly aware of the growing number of young people in need of mental health support. Together with key partners, we are doing our best to support any student struggling with their health. mental health and offer a range of support options to meet many different needs.

“We are of course constantly working to improve the services and support we provide and following Phoebe’s passing we have reviewed our policies and processes.

“Once again, on behalf of all of us at Newcastle University, our hearts go out to Phoebe’s family and loved ones.”


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