Students: Mental Health

Department for Education written question – answered on 12th February 2019.

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Photo of Jo Stevens Jo Stevens Labour, Cardiff Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what recent steps his Department is taking to support universities in protecting the mental health of students.

Photo of Chris Skidmore Chris Skidmore Vice-Chair, Conservative Party, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Education)

Mental Health is a priority for this government. This is why the government is continuing to work closely with Universities UK on embedding the Step Change programme within the sector. Step Change calls on higher education leaders to adopt mental health as a strategic priority.

The University Mental Health Charter announced in June 2018 is backed by the government and led by the sector, and will drive up standards in promoting student and staff mental health and wellbeing. In spring, there will be 6 consultation events around the UK, bringing together university leaders, staff and students to help shape the Charter’s structure and content.

Higher Education Institutions (HEIs) are autonomous bodies, independent from government. HEIs are not only experts in their student population but also best placed to identify the needs of their particular student body.

UK Research and Innovation launched eight new mental health networks in September, including the SMARTEN Network. This Network will work with researchers with a range of expertise and key stakeholders across the Higher Education sector to improve the understanding of student mental health. As part of this work, the network will run a workshop on 13 March for stakeholders to share their perspectives on what is helpful and feasible in terms of measuring student mental health.

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