This autumn over 530,000 young people will be leaving home for the first time to go to university, joining a total UK student population of 2.3 million.
Over the past 10 years there's been a fivefold increase in the number of students who disclose a mental health condition to their institution. And they're presenting with an increasing complexity of problems.
In June, Students Minds announced the development of a University Mental Health Charter. This voluntary award and quality improvement scheme will recognise universities with exceptional approaches to promoting and supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students and the university community. In giving government backing to the charter Universities Minister, Sam Gyimah MP directly challenged Vice-Chancellors to prioritise the issue of student mental health.
We support this important focus on students’ mental health. We also back the broad approach of Minding Our Future (Universities UK) and welcome the expansion of wellbeing services.
However, we're concerned that these changes will be at the expense of professional, embedded counselling services and that current services could be downgraded or outsourced. We're already aware of universities and colleges where such cuts are being made.
Helping students with mental health issues requires the right support, provided at the right time.
What we're doing
- We're seeking to influence the development of the Mental Health Charter, as a member of the advisory group
- We've updated our briefing
Looking after our students’ mental health (pdf 0.3MB)
- We're campaigning to raise awareness about the importance and benefits of embedded counselling services within universities and colleges
We'll be inviting members to get involved and support the campaign - further details will be published here soon. Various spokespeople from BACP have already voiced their concerns in the media (see the news articles).