Student Minds, UK's student mental health charity, explain what effect Theresa May's announcement may have on the mental health of students.
May's promise for mental health training to be implemented in schools is welcome. We need to equip our young people with the knowledge, confidence and skills to recognise mental health difficulties in themselves and others, and how to provide appropriate support.
Improving mental health literacy in schools could have a large impact on how university students are equipped to manage the significant challenge of the transition out of school to university. This is an issue which comes up time and time again in our research and reports from the HE sector.
We would agree that mental health currently does not have parity of esteem with physical health. With 1 in 10 young people aged 5-16 experiencing a mental health difficulty, we hope funding allocations for mental health begin to accurately reflect this following this announcement. We need to ensure mental health services are properly resourced to close the treatment gap for mental health, and this funding must be protected as currently it can be used by other NHS services.
We welcome a focus on young peoples’ mental health within government which adds to the significant work going on within the Higher Education sector to advocate for young people’s mental health. Universities UK has established a programme of work on wellbeing in higher education to ensure that wellbeing and mental health are a strategic priority for universities. Student Minds’ is working with The National Union of Students to ensure that students are central to the direction of this work, as we believe in a person-centred approach to mental health support which also promotes mental health and wellbeing across university communities.
We look forward to seeing how the Government’s programme develops and hope that universities will also be engaged in the dialogue. Visit our Research page to find out more about our work on university student mental health.