The Government have announced they will be investing up to £3m of funding to “close the gaps” in mental health between university and NHS services.
The new funding looks to ensure the NHS can provide better and more joined up healthcare for students by creating regional partnerships, encompassing a university, the NHS, and the local mental health service.
Students have been previously prevented from accessing mental health services when they had to change locations to study and thus lost their way in a different and unfamiliar city. This new initiative aims to signpost relevant services more clearly and communicate with students more effectively – ultimately enhancing the support they receive and subsequently improving their university experience and moreover their health outcomes too.
Minister for Higher and Further Education, Michelle Donelan, said: “Moving to a new place is one of the most exciting parts of going to university but can create barriers for students in accessing mental health services.
“We have brought together university and healthcare representatives to close any gaps between universities and NHS services so that all students can get the help they might need as they transition through university and beyond.
“This government has prioritised student mental health because we know how important it is for students to feel supported – good mental health can affect their studies, boosting attainment and outcomes and helping them towards their bright futures.”
Five locations so far have integrated their services into a physical hub that students can go and visit – those locations being Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield, North London, and Liverpool. The new centres have funded by the Office for Students who attended the roundtable announcement yesterday, alongside Million Plus, Russel Group and NHS England.
The University of Manchester have been one of the first sites to launch this new service, with their Manchester clinic also having satellite jurisdiction at the University of Bolton and the University of Salford. The clinic works in tandem with Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership and can be accessed via referrals from university counselling services, providing students with a wide array of mental health support.
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.
“We’re already accelerating the roll out of Mental Health Support Teams in schools and colleges and expanding community services for children and young people through £79 million of investment. I encourage everyone of all ages to respond to our call for evidence to inform our new 10-year mental health and wellbeing plan.”
This new investment forms part of the Government’s approach to tackling young people’s mental health, after they fast-tracked 2.4 million children into mental services, as well as their wider actions by broadening support and increasing overall funding.
More information about the new mental health services is available here.