Student Minds to lead development of £3m collaborative mental health programme to support students through pandemic
We are delighted to announce that up to £3m in funding has been awarded by the Office for Students (OfS) and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) for the development of targeted mental health support for students during the Covid-19 pandemic; Student Space.
Student Space will act as a single point of access to support for university and college students. The platform will consist of both immediate and preventative interventions to improve mental health and wellbeing outcomes. It will offer a range of clinically developed psychoeducational resources, curate and quality-assure other types of available support such as online guidance, peer support and volunteering opportunities, and provide accessible therapeutic interventions. We will collate existing services provided by universities to ensure students are equipped to access a full range of support.
Student Minds will lead the development of Student Space, working with a range of partners, sector bodies and service providers to deliver a collaborative, clinically-approved support platform which brings together excellent work from across the sector. The programme is designed to help address the additional mental health challenges arising from the pandemic.
The first phase of the programme will be launched in late July for all 2.3 million students at registered Welsh institutions and OfS-registered Higher Education providers in England.
Rosie Tressler OBE, Chief Executive Officer of Student Minds, said:
“Over the last few months, we’ve been listening to students, our university communities and partner organisations to learn how the coronavirus pandemic is impacting their lives, from the transition to online learning, to being away from their networks of support and concerns about the future. Students and staff alike have shown great adaptability amidst the uncertainty, but we also know that the pandemic is exacerbating existing challenges for student mental health in addition to creating new ones. There is a clear need for additional mental health and wellbeing support, to complement existing activity in the Higher Education sector and NHS, to ensure that students are supported and empowered through these unique circumstances.
We know that the pandemic is not affecting every student in the same way, research has found that it is deepening long-standing health inequalities. This highlights the clear need for targeted accessible support which meets students’ broad variety of needs.
We welcome the news of dedicated funding to develop support for students and look forward to working with a broad range of organisations to provide this much-needed programme. We hope this will become one of many initiatives to support the mental health and wellbeing of our society.”
While Student Minds will oversee the development of Student Space, we will be commissioning a number of organisations in the development of bespoke content and services. To deliver this we will collaborate with a programme advisory group involving student, clinical and professional input. We will use all of our previous and current listening work with students to make sure the programme genuinely reflects the needs of our student communities.
We will implement a student-informed evaluation framework and continue to share what we are learning about student experiences through Student Space to help inform local approaches in universities, Students’ Unions and the wider HE sector, during the Covid-19 recovery period.
You can find out more information about Student Space as we develop our FAQs in the coming weeks. If you have any further questions please do get in touch with us at firstname.lastname@example.org.
If you are looking for existing information on supporting students and your university community, explore our Coronvavirus Resource Hub and guidance for universities.