Student mental health task force announced by Damian Hinds
Education Secretary Damian Hinds has set up a new taskforce to support university students with their mental health. Hinds announced this new taskforce yesterday, coinciding with University Mental Health Day, and explained that it will look at students making the transition from college or sixth form to university and how they can be better supported.
Creating such a taskforce was first announced by Sam Gyimah, former Universities Minister, alongside plans to create a University Mental Health Charter, which will reward those institutions that deliver improved student mental health outcomes.
To support this, the Department of Education identified four key factors or risks that could impact mental health among students.
These risks have been specifically highlighted as areas in which this taskforce could provide support.
These are: independent living, independent learning, building healthy relationships and the promotion of wellbeing, including tackling feelings of loneliness, social media pressure and making sure that students know how to access wellbeing support.
The taskforce, which will be known as the Education Transitions Network, will be made up of important educational groups such as UCAS, the National Union of Students, Universities UK and Student Minds. The aim of the task orce is to develop measures that will smooth this transition into higher education and ensure this is maintained during their studies.
Commenting on this new initiative, Damian Hinds said: “Going to university should be a positive, life-changing experience. Understandably for many young people, the idea of leaving home and starting to live independently can be exciting but also daunting.
“Juggling challenges like independent studying or managing finances can be hard enough, but with the added element being in a new place, surrounded by new people it can for some be overwhelming. We need to make sure students have the support they need to thrive at university and help these really be the best days of their life.
“I’m delighted to have the expertise of the sector backing this vision and joining this taskforce. Research shows that when people face a number of these challenges in student life at the same time it can be stressful and can lead to poor mental health.”