Student mental health: £3million support programme launched

The new platform from Student Minds will support the new intake from the very start of their higher education journey

National student mental health charity Student Minds has launched a £3 million mental health programme to support students in England and Wales as they commence university life during the pandemic.

Student Space was created in response to the increased challenges faced by students since the coronavirus crisis, and was funded by the Office for Students (OfS) and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW). It will run from August 2020 for a six-month period.

The service is free, and features information, a helpline, online tools and resources, and a text service for students experiencing mental health problems. It includes a directory of support guiding students to their local university services. Resources will be updated and enhanced to meet student needs as required.

This year’s university applicants, as well as returning students, will benefit from as much support around them as possible – Rosie Tressler, Student Minds

“While results day, the clearing process and the move away from home already create nervousness among undergraduates, this year’s predicted grades system and the uncertainty around university life in lockdown will add to an already difficult period for young people,” said Rosie Tressler OBE, CEO, Student Minds.

“On top of that, many students will be experiencing the same ongoing health worries and struggles around coronavirus that so many people are facing right now. It’s therefore clear that this year’s university applicants, as well as returning students, will benefit from as much support around them as possible to make their first or next steps into university life as happy and as comfortable as can be.”

“Those first moments at university are some of the most nerve-wracking and exciting times of our lives and the pressures of academic life continue as study intensifies. We want to do everything we can alongside the range of services in the higher education sector and the NHS to ease the pressure and help students create memories and skills that will last a lifetime.”

Student Minds ambassador, Natasha Devon MBE said: “The move to university already represents a potential point of vulnerability when it comes to mental health, but because of Covid and its consequences, some students are now struggling more than ever.

“As well as increased anxiety, we can also expect to see the impact of trauma and bereavement following lockdown. University students are often overlooked because they are generally over 18 and therefore perceived as ‘adults’, but it’s vital they have something that is tailored for their unique experiences. I’m very proud of the work Student Minds has done in creating Student Space.”

Announcing the funding of Student Minds in a Hepi webinar in June, universities minister Michelle Donelan said: “From the very start of this pandemic, my top priority has been to protect students’ mental health and wellbeing,” she said, adding that the new platform would bridge “gaps in student support”.

“I urge students to reach out if you need help during this challenging time – make the most of the new platform once available, as well as the range of existing resources out there and support from your university.”

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