By Benjamin Leatham
Some of you may be aware that a few months ago the Vice Chancellor commissioned a task group to consider actions the University could take to better support students whose wellbeing is compromised by mental ill-health. This was in part due to the pressure YUSU and students collectively were putting on the University to act. From the very start I was heavily involved in the group, ensuring that students themselves were at the heart of the discussions taking place. A report was produced for the University Executive Board that included a number of recommended actions.
One of the points I consistently made was around transparency and how, regardless of what actions the University decide to take, it is crucial that both students and staff are made aware of them. I am extremely pleased that the Executive Board decided to release the entire report, as well as implement all of the recommended actions. It is clear that the University is starting to take this issue seriously and is committed to working closely with us to make change. Students, our voices were heard!
The actions that are going to be taken are:
Recommendation 1: take immediate steps to improve University support for student mental health Actions:
- Complete ongoing work related to student mental ill-health
- Enhance mechanisms for student feedback on current UoY mental health provision
- Establish an integrated UoY website for student mental health
- Ensure support for ‘first contact’ staff providing crisis support for students
- Improve Departmental capacity to support students
- Take a proactive approach to social media abuse
- Strengthen University governance structures for student welfare
- Review and implement a UoY Student Mental Health Policy
Recommendation 2: ensure a coordinated approach to improve mental health services for students in York and N Yorkshire Actions:
- Establish formal channels of communication between UoY and TEWV Foundation Trust
- Build closer links with local agencies to better support students experiencing mental ill-health and those supporting them
- Lead the momentum for improving service provision for York’s 30,000+ students and the wider York community
The full report and list of recommended actions can be found here:
If you have any questions about the report or my involvement in the task group feel free to email me at email@example.com.