A briefing paper for MPs highlighting student mental health services produced by the House of Commons library highlights work at the University of Cumbria as a good example of how widespread training for staff working with students can be offered.
The paper Mental Health Services for post-16 Students in England says young adults aged from 16-24 are more likely than previous generations to experience mental health issues and cites a report produced by the Institute of Public Policy Research (IPPR) in September 2017 which found that over 15,000 first year students at Higher Education Institutes (HEIs) disclosed a mental health condition.
In 2017 the University of Cumbria appointed two Mental Health Case Workers to work with students on Carlisle, Lancaster and Ambleside campuses. As part of the ‘compassionate campus’ campaign, training has also been offered to all staff on suicide prevention and awareness.
“The impact of mental health issues can be serious and according to the Higher Education Statistics Authority (HESA) there has been a 210% increase in the number of students leaving university due to mental health problems over the last five years,” David Wilson, mental health and wellbeing manager at the University of Cumbria said.
Working closely with Student Union staff, the university has also a number of student quality ambassadors – students who have a particular interest or who are studying mental health nursing – also working to increase awareness of mental health and encourage discussion with support.
“This is important work which we’re taking a lead on at Cumbria so it’s great to see our innovative suicide prevention and intervention training getting mentioned in this briefing paper,” David said.