Universities: Mental Health Services

Department for Education written question – answered on 3rd September 2019.

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Photo of Jo Stevens Jo Stevens Labour, Cardiff Central

To ask the Secretary of State for Education, what steps the Office for Students has taken since its establishment to assess the adequacy of provision of mental health services and student support at universities.

Photo of Jo Johnson Jo Johnson Minister of State (Department for Education) (Universities and Science) (Joint with the Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy), The Minister of State, Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy, Minister of State (Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy) (Jointly with the Department for Education)

In our latest guidance to the Office for Students (OfS), we asked that it continue its work to support student experience, with a focus on wellbeing and mental health.

Where a provider has significant gaps in outcomes between students with a declared mental health condition and their peers, the OfS require providers to set out an ambitious strategy to narrow these gaps and promote equality of opportunity, as part of their access and participation plans.

The OfS also regulates at a sector level to share evidence and examples of effective and innovative practice. On 5 June 2019, the OfS announced the award of almost £6 million for 10 large-scale projects through a challenge competition, encouraging higher education providers to find new ways of combating student mental health issues. The OfS has commissioned a programme-level evaluation to gather what works most effectively and to disseminate learning across the sector.

On 17 June 2019, the government announced a £1 million fund for a further OfS challenge competition to find innovative proposals that drive improvements in mental health support for higher education students.

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