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Universities have crucial role in improving young people’s mental health

​Responding to the children and young people's mental health green paper, Professor Steve West, Vice Chancellor of the University of the West of England (Bristol) and Chair of the Mental Health In Higher Education (MHHE) working group, commented:​

"Mental health matters to universities. Universities want our students and staff to thrive and succeed and, where they experience mental health difficulties, to feel able to ask for help and to receive it. This challenge is difficult to answer alone. Universities must work in close partnership with the NHS and with parents, schools, colleges and employers.

"Universities UK (UUK) is pleased to be part of a new national strategic partnership with government, third sector, professional bodies, students, colleges and employers focused on improving the mental health of 16-25 year olds by encouraging more coordinated action, experimentation and robust evaluation.

"We need to play a leadership role in developing seamless approaches to young peoples' mental health support that takes them from school, through university and into adulthood and the working world".

Paul Jenkins, Chief Executive Officer at The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust and Chair of the UUK Task Group looking at the design and delivery of mental health services for college and university students, commented:

"Last year, more than 15,000 first-year students at UK universities and colleges disclosed a mental health condition to NHS or university support services. There are wide variations in mental health provision available for students.

"I look forward to working with the national strategic partnership to reduce these variations in care and to encourage local coalitions between tertiary education providers, health and care commissioners and providers and local authorities."

Professor Dame Sue Bailey, Chair of the Children and Young People's Mental Health Coalition, commented:

"I very much welcome the Green Paper and look forward to working together across government,  health and education systems and employers to enable young people to achieve and sustain good mental health as they make the important life transitions from school, colleges and universities and into the workplace.

"Our shared goal is sustainable mental health for the next generation. Nothing could be more important."​

Notes

  1. Universities UK recently published a framework to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of university students. The step change framework ­– part of Universities UK's programme of work to help improve the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff in higher education – is aimed at supporting university leaders to help embed good mental health across all university activities.

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