Universities in the UK are being told to “dramatically improve” support for students with mental health issues. The UK government has announced that it would award a certificate of excellence to institutions which meet new standards of mental health care. It also wants universities to give students an opt-in service for vice chancellors to contact parents which would mean that relatives can be alerted if students are in a mental health crisis.
The move came in light of published data by the Office for National Statistics which suggested that 95 students took their own lives in England and Wales in the past 12 months. Government officials will be working with charity Student Minds, Office for Sutdents, and various univiersities to come up with a “best practice” charter. This charter will ensure that every young person at university is better supported in the future, as far as their mental health and wellbeing is concerned.
The government is also looking at how universities and NHS services can work more smoothly together to help students. A Universities UK report earlier this year found some students risked slipping through the gap due to a lack of co-ordination between the NHS and universities.
Mental health is a serious business. No student can do well when he or she is not feeling at his or her best. While a good curriculum and teaching method will help deflect some of the stress, teachers still have a key role to play. Teachers must be constantly observant about their students’ physical and mental well-being. In addition, schools must implement measures to help students suffering from mental health issues, including having a school counsellor and working with mental health practitioners to ensure students get the help they critically need.
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