A collaborative working group of AMOSSHE Wales, NUS (National Union of Students) Wales, Universities Wales, and ColegauCymru has published a set of policy recommendations designed to further improve mental health services in Welsh colleges and universities.
The working group was set up to develop some key principles for Welsh Government to consider embedding in mental health and wellbeing policy for students in post-16 education. The recommendations have a strong focus on prevention, early intervention and greater connection between agencies.
The recommendations include prioritising investment in mental health, service redesign promoting a ‘no wrong door’ approach to mental health support, and a call for education and statutory health services to work in partnership to protect students’ mental health.
The recommendations are based around a set of key principles including:
Read the recommendations here: Good Practice Case Studies: Post-16 Mental Health Services.
Hefin David MS, Chair of the Senedd’s Cross Party Group on Universities, said:
“When the Cross Party Group on Universities discussed student health and well-being we saw positive examples of the work delivered by colleges and universities across Wales, while also gaining a clear sense of the scale of the need.
“I’m pleased to see the Cross Party Group’s conversations led to the delivery of this work with the higher and further education sector coming together to identify opportunities for improvement in the provision of mental health support for students across Wales.
“It is essential that education and health care providers are able to work together to support students, and the Cross Party Group on Universities will continue to advocate for Welsh Government’s backing in this important area.”
Ben Lewis, Chair of AMOSSHE Wales said:
“University student support professionals are an important part of the partnerships we need to grow to provide the best possible opportunities and outcomes for students in Wales. These policy recommendations represent an opportunity to create a new approach as we move beyond the pandemic.
“We know demand and expectation is high and increasing. This provides a direction for us to work together with government, the NHS, funders and other partners to take action now to address this.”
Becky Ricketts, NUS Wales President, said:
“Students face a unique mix of pressures on their well-being, so it’s important that on-campus and NHS mental health services can work together to deliver a range of interventions. These recommendations, developed by the sector in partnership with students from across post-16 education, have the potential to boost existing services in universities and colleges, embed good practice across the sector, and make Wales a standard-bearer on student mental health.
“It’s important that student mental health services continue to be backed by long-term funding to make sure that no matter who you are or where you study in Wales, you have access to timely and tailored mental health and well-being support throughout your entire education journey.”
Professor Elizabeth Treasure, Chair of Universities Wales said:
“The health and wellbeing of students is a top priority for universities in Wales, and these principles, if implemented, can play an important role in ensuring that students get the support they need at the right time and in the right way.
This is an important example of collaboration across post-16 education of the type that the Tertiary Education and Research Bill hopes to encourage. We will continue to work in close partnership with our colleagues across tertiary education, and with statutory health services, to deliver a proactive approach to keeping students mentally healthy.”
ColegauCymru Active Wellbeing Group Chair Simon Pirotte said:
“This is an important piece of work where key players in post-16 provision in Wales have come together to tackle head on some of the challenges facing our post-16 learners. We look forward to working with the Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing and Welsh Government to progress this agenda.”
AMOSSHE, The Student Services Organisation is a UK non-profit professional association. Company registration number 4778650.