|Registration and refreshments.
|Welcome and context
Introduction to the conference by Jill Stevenson (AMOSSHE Executive Member, AMOSSHE and Head of Student Support Services and Dean for Equality, Diversity and Inclusion, University of Stirling) and Simon Lee (Executive Member, AMOSSHE and Deputy Director Resilience, Sport and Wellbeing, Teesside University).
|Student and staff mental health: a ‘perfect’ storm
Dr Dominique Thompson is an award winning GP, young people's mental health expert, TEDx speaker, author and educator, with over 20 years of clinical experience caring for students. She was most recently Director of Service at the University of Bristol Students' Health Service. She was named Bristol Healthcare Professional of the Year in 2017. She is author of The Student Wellbeing Series (Trigger Press) and co-author of How to Grow a Grown Up (Penguin Random House). She is a co-author of Student Mental Health & Wellbeing in Higher Education: A Practical Guide (Sage). Dominique is a Clinical Advisor for NICE, the Royal College of GPs, the Anorexia Bulimia Care charity, and for Student Minds, the UK's student mental health charity. In a thought provoking, engaging and strategic-level keynote Dominique sets out the current context of student and staff mental health in UK higher education, what is happening, why it might be happening, and what we can all do to try to improve things.
|What does the University Mental Health Charter mean for Student Services?
This practical workshop explores the implications of the University Mental Health Charter for Student Services leaders. The charter, developed by mental health charity Student Minds in consultation with the sector, is a tool for higher education providers to assess and articulate their student mental health provision. Rosie Tressler (Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds) and Gareth Hughes (Psychotherapist and Research Lead for Student Wellbeing, University of Derby) give an overview of the charter and then lead practical exercises to help you assess its impact on your work.
|Refreshments, networking and exhibition time.
|Taking a whole-university approach to student and staff mental health
Amy Dicks (Policy Researcher, Universities UK) introduces Mentally Healthy Universities, the revised #StepChange framework, which will be published in March 2020. The framework aims to support higher education providers to embed mental health as a strategic priority across all aspects of university life, for both students and staff.
|Working together for better student wellbeing
The New Realists report, published in September 2019 by Unite Students and HEPI (Higher Education Policy Institute) showed that while 17% of first year students consider themselves to have a specific mental health condition, only about half of them have disclosed it to their university. Moreover, 26% of all students were often or always lonely towards the end of their first year. Jenny Shaw (Head of Student Services & Insight, Unite Students) explores how university Student Services teams and accommodation providers (both in-house and third party) have a real opportunity to work together to address these issues, following guidelines from the student wellbeing good practice guidelines published by the British Property Federation (BPF) Student Accommodation Committee in June 2019.
|Key elements of an effective delivery of mental health and wellbeing support
The dramatically increased number of students with mental health issues presents challenges at strategic, operational and personal levels for professional staff in the sector. In this session Iliyan Stefanov (Head of Student Support and Wellbeing, University of Wolverhampton) provides an insight to an integrated, proactive and effective approach to delivering support to students who need it and - crucially - at the time when they need it, called the Stay-on-Course Programme. The session explores the key elements of student support provision (service user, service provider, organisational structure, and support process with its aims), and discusses the pros and cons of the available approaches in each of these.
|Lunch and networking.
|How should I invest in my mental health services? The value and impact of different approaches
If you had an extra £100,000 a year to dedicate to student mental health in higher education, how would you spend it? This panel discussion seeks to showcase and explore different perspectives about the optimum approach to meeting students’ needs in relation to stress / distress and mental ill health. Compare and reflect on different approaches and the unique value and impact that each offers, including traditional counselling models, models focused more towards specialist mental health support, and alternative or mixed models, alternative counselling approaches, matched care models, and partnership approaches.
|Mental health is core business: utilising the resources we have to create a sustainable model of student mental health and wellbeing
Resilience can help individuals to bounce back from failures and recognise and build on areas of weakness. However, there is a danger of pathologising individuals within the ‘snowflake’ stereotype. As learning support professionals we support an approach that helps to empower students for learning and life within a holistic model of student wellbeing, which integrates personal identity within a constructivist paradigm of knowledge gain and skills development. This session, led by Dr Anne Llewellyn (Deputy Director Student and Library Services, Learning Development) and Simon Lee (Deputy Director Resilience, Sport and Wellbeing) from Teesside University introduce Teesside’s journey towards being an institution increasingly at ease with the promotion and discussion of mental health. This includes utilising existing resources available as a university, and partnerships developed across the university and with external agencies, including a successful partnership with a local branch of Mind. This workshop is an opportunity to consider the resources you have across your institution to help promote positive mental health.
|International students' mental health and wellbeing: sector research and projects
This session explores a range of projects undertaken by higher education providers across the UK, focusing on the mental health and wellbeing of international students. Julie Allen (Director of Policy and Services, UK Council for International Student Affairs) discusses the outcomes and progress of projects including a mindfulness course for international students, approaches to help Chinese students navigate life in the UK, increasing access for international students to wellbeing services, making counselling and wellbeing services accessible and inclusive, and supporting international doctoral students.
|Refreshments, networking and exhibition time.
|Counselling as a change agent
This session, led by Alan Percy (Head of Counselling, University of Oxford) explores the key components of counselling as a "change agent". Counselling / therapeutic interventions are made in the spirit of understanding and empathy, but the key aim is to effect change in feeling, thought and behaviour. Most students presenting at counselling services don’t have "diagnosable" clinical depression, anxiety disorders or other mental illnesses, but they feel "overwhelmed by life" – which can create depressive or anxiety symptoms as a continuum on the spectrum of mental health problems. Effective short-term counselling can address these problems as well as being highly efficient in developing a range of life skills, such as a greater sense of self-agency, emotional resilience, self and other compassion, and coping skills. This session explores case examples to demonstrate this, as well as evidence that short-term counselling can effect real change. The session also questions whether mental wellbeing initiatives can be really preventative, and whether they increase demand on counselling services rather than reducing them.
|A change in direction: integrating care – the Matched Care model
In this session Ruth Unsworth (Deputy Director of Student Services, University of St Andrews) discusses in depth the St Andrews Matched Care model, which addresses rising demand and promotes the autonomy, resilience and independence of students. St Andrews matches a student's individual difficulties with the practitioner best suited to deliver the lightest effective intervention. Student Services was accredited by APPTS (Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapies Services, developed by the Royal College of Psychiatrists in partnership with the British Psychological Society) in January 2019. The accreditation process involved measuring the service against 56 standards that assess whether a service is safe, well led, effective, caring and responsive to people’s needs, listening to students and staff feedback and submitting to an all-day, on-site peer review. As part of the session you'll learn more about this model of care and how effectively it has worked within the university.
|There is no student mental health without staff mental health
UMHAN (University Mental Health Advisers Network) argues that the optimum approach to student mental health is through looking after staff mental health. In a recent survey asking UMHAN members to identify top issues that affected their work and should be focused on as a priority, 78% of respondents identified practitioner and staff wellbeing. Mental health practitioners have varied skills to support students, however, for many, their own personal wellbeing is negatively impacted by working conditions and workloads. Practitioners are in an ideal position to inform “what works” but are finding themselves increasingly unable to manage their own wellbeing. This session, led by Lydia Pell (trustee, UMHAN, and Head of Student Advice and Wellbeing, SOAS University of London) and Alice Wilson (member, UMHAN and CBT Therapist, Birmingham City University) discusses staff supervision and continuing professional development (why this is important and affects risk and safety), the benefits of a multi-disciplinary approach, models of peer support and reflection, and the need for debriefing (how senior management can support staff).
|Time to find your next room.
|Suicide-safer universities: policy, practice and impact
This session, presented by Ross Renton (Pro Vice Chancellor), Caryn Thorogood (Director of Student life) and Hilary Causer (PhD student) from the University of Worcester provides an outline of the university’s innovative Suicide Safer project and explores how this work is now being embedded into university practice. It also features a preview of the research outcomes from ground-breaking PhD research into the impact of student suicide on university staff. The session provides an opportunity to talk to colleagues, and to reflect on your own institutional priorities to address this sensitive aspect of student support.
|Working in partnership: innovative approaches to student mental health
The University of Manchester, along with four other Greater Manchester higher education providers (University of Salford, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Bolton, Royal Northern College of Music) have come together with the local NHS Trust and the Greater Manchester Combined Authority to develop and launch the first joint service for university students with significant mental health difficulties. Working as a single pathway and bridging the “gap” between university services and NHS services, the two year pilot aims to transform the treatment experience of students with significant mental health difficulties and reduce the impact of their difficulties on their time at university. Sarah Littlejohn (Director of Campus Life, the University of Manchester) and Simon Postlethwaite (Operational Manager, the Greater Manchester Universities Student Mental Health Service) will describe the challenges and lessons learnt from the two year process of developing this innovative approach, and also give an early clinical picture of how it’s working and its impact since its launch.
|Driving a change in staff mental health and wellbeing: it starts with you
Recent figures show that the level of stress, anxiety and depression for those who work in the higher education sector is 40% higher than the all-industry average. The reality is that unless we care for ourselves and our colleagues, everyone suffers – students, colleagues, families. This practical session, led by Professor Neil Budworth (Chair, USHA - Universities Safety and Health Association and Head of Health and Safety at Loughborough University) is an opportunity to consider the mental health and wellbeing needs and risks of those who surround you.
|Finish. Takeaway refreshments are available in the exhibition area.