The University has pledged to immediately improve student mental health services

Finally some good news

The University has pledged to “take immediate steps to improve University support for student mental health” according to a report published today.

The Student Mental Ill-Health Task Group, lead by Professor Hilary Graham was commissioned earlier this year to consider what actions could be taken to improve mental health services at the University. Their long awaited report has been published today and can be see in full here.

The report acknowledges that, “The prevalence and severity of mental ill-health among students at the University of York has been increasing and continues to rise.”

It also suggests that, “NHS mental health services are regularly failing to meet the needs of vulnerable people including students.”

It goes on to say that, “These shortfalls in NHS mental health provision are evident at the University of York.”

The shocking report also shows that so far in 2016, 50 per cent of all ambulance call outs to the university have been related to self-harm or attempted suicide.

In 2015, 43 ambulance call outs came as a result of self-harm or attempted suicide which accounted for 32 per cent, more than doubling from 14 per cent in 2014.

The Vice Chancellor, Koen Lamberts has said: “This is a very important issue for the University, and I look forward to working with colleagues from academic and support departments as we put in place the report’s recommendations.”

Ben Leatham has voiced his happiness in a Facebook post: “I am extremely pleased that the Executive Board decided to release the entire report, as well as implement all of the recommended actions.”

The recommended actions include:

  1. Complete ongoing work related to student mental ill-health
  2. Enhance mechanisms for student feedback on current UoY mental health provision
  3. Establish an integrated UoY website for student mental health
  4. Ensure support for ‘first contact’ staff providing crisis support for students
  5. Improve Departmental capacity to support students
  6. Take a proactive approach to social media abuse
  7. Strengthen University governance structures for student welfare
  8. Review and implement a UoY Student Mental Health Policy

This news comes amidst increasing noise from student media including today’s reports from Nouse that demand for Open Door services have consistently risen higher than spending increases in the last five years.