UEA graduate ‘betrayed and vulnerable’ by leak of mental health data

UEA students. Picture: David Kirkham Fisheye Images

UEA students. Picture: David Kirkham Fisheye Images - Credit: David Kirkham Fisheye Images

Ellen Musgrove, 24, has spoken out about the experience of having her personal information mistakenly leaked by UEA.

She told this newspaper: 'I didn't realise I had been personally affected [by the leak] for a couple of days. I was visiting family in Ireland at the time as my granny had a stroke.

'I was extremely upset, frustrated, and overwhelmed by anxiety. When I found out the exact details that had been released I felt incredibly betrayed, vulnerable and low.

'This was a really terrible end to my time at UEA.

'I felt like a faceless customer of a mass corporation rather than a student under the care of an educational institution.'

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The details that were shared included Miss Musgrove's full name, and a history of her mental health, including depression, anxiety, an eating disorder, and self-harm. They also included the antidepressants that she had been prescribed.

Miss Musgrove said she was: 'happy to be open about what was shared because mental health has such a huge stigma around it.

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'I want to challenge this and share my experiences when I have actually consented to do so.'

Read more: 'Mind-boggling' - UEA students' outrage over regulator's decision on data leak

She described the ruling by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO) as insulting, and said: 'The university, whether this was a mistake or not, have betrayed the trust and well-being of students.

'UEA have prolonged this process and been really quite neglectful, giving us repetitive and generalised responses.

'I can't adequately explain the stress, frustration and exacerbation of existing conditions this has caused me and other affected students.'

She added: 'I would have given up trying to fight this case if I didn't have such a supportive family.

'I think the university have probably been hoping they could keep this relatively quiet.

'I have found UEA slow in their response, careless in giving us time frames on the investigation, and disingenuous and thoughtless in their communication.

'I feel that the university has made minimal effort to address our concerns and have not taken seriously the emotional and psychological dent this has made on those affected.'

Read more: UEA leak sensitive student data in mass email

Miss Musgrove recently graduated from a four-year degree in American and English literature.

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