Government plans to tackle gaps in student mental health care

Scrabble tiles spelling Mental Health

The government has announced a new scheme to improve mental health services for university students, which could include physical hubs for in-person visits.

The government will invest up to £3 million over the next academic year with the plan to relieve pressure on the NHS and higher education providers and enable students to access mental health services more easily when they move to a new place. Students have previously suffered from delays in accessing mental health services when moving to a new area to study.
Minister for Mental Health, Gillian Keegan, said: "It’s vital young people are able to access support early and this initiative will boost collaboration to ensure they get the help they need."

Five locations (Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield, and North London) have already developed approaches to bring services together into a physical hub that students can visit. There is a clinic based at the University of Manchester and satellite clinics at the University of Bolton and University of Salford. These clinics work in partnership with the region’s five universities and are supported by the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership. Services which include mental health assessment, support and interventions can be accessed with a referral from the universities' counselling services.

Edward Peck was also recently appointed as the Student Support Champion with the aim of ensuring universities are tackling the issues that matter for students and helping to support universities in spotting the first warning signs of students with mental health problems. This role links to cross-sector collaboration aiming to tackle student mental health. This includes work by the University Mental Health Charter, led by Student Minds. The charter works with students and universities to improve standards of practice around mental health issues.

The government has also launched a 12-week call for evidence which is open to people of all ages and is looking for feedback on how the current service can be improved and enhance understanding on the causes of mental ill-health. This will lead into a new 10-Year Mental Health Plan to improve mental health across the country and assess how local services can work together to prevent mental ill health. The government also plans to invest an extra £2.3 billion a year to expand mental health services by 2023/24 as part of the NHS Long Term Plan.

Image by Wokandapix from Pixabay

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