William Eichler 05 March 2020

Government announces £1m ‘boost’ to student mental health support

Student groups most at risk of poor mental health will benefit from more targeted support through a £1m Government funding boost.

The funding will create new projects to support groups of students research suggests could be more ‘at risk’ of developing a mental health condition.

These include black or ethnic minority students, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, LGBT+ students or those with a disability.

The money, provided by the Department for Health and Social Care, will go to the universities regulator the Office for Students (OfS), who is inviting bidders to submit proposals that will target and help students.

‘Going to university can be a really challenging time, especially if you face added pressures or if you are balancing studies alongside other commitments like carers and mature students,’ said universities minister Michelle Donelan.

‘It is vital no student is put at risk by not getting the help they need. Universities must step up to this challenge, and this funding will help them and the sector by looking at ways support can be better targeted and improved.’

In a 2019 HEPI survey, 17% of students reported having a mental health condition (up from 12% in 2016) and one in four students say they often or always feel lonely.

Chris Millward, director for Fair Access and Participation at the OfS, comment: ‘All students deserve the opportunity to thrive at university and college, but for too many mental ill-health remains a significant barrier.

‘We know that there are many factors which can impact the wellbeing of students and situations where students may be or feel more vulnerable.

‘Through this funding we want to support innovative and strategic solutions that can help ensure that all students, regardless of their background or how they study, get the support they need.

‘By working together with partners including the NHS and charities, universities and colleges have the power to address the complex issues associated with student mental ill-health.

‘We will be sharing the effective practice that comes from this funding and driving improved mental health support for all students.’

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