Strategy to boost support for mental health

The University has launched a strategy to improve support for students at Edinburgh who experience mental health issues.

International students relaxing in the George Square labyrinth

The strategy also aims to promote good mental health in the wider student population.

Growing demand

The number of students in the UK seeking support for mental health issues has increased significantly in recent years.

In response, the University’s new Student Mental Health Strategy will see a range of initiatives implemented between now and 2019.

The University aspires to be a place that enables and supports its students to flourish. This is a great vision but there's a lot to do! The strategy sets out how we will work towards our goals - ensuring that students who experience mental health difficulties at the University are well supported and helping all our students develop practices that support good mental health.

Gavin DouglasDeputy Secretary - Student Experience

Improving support

The University has already committed to a further £140,000 investment in student counselling between 2016 and 2018 and to delivering mental health training all for personal tutors by 2019. The strategy will ensure a continued focus on resourcing and demand for specialist services – such as counselling – to ensure their continued availability to students. But there will also be a focus on additional support such as online training and support packages.

The University will also seek to review and strengthen its existing links with specialist NHS services to ensure joined up approaches wherever possible.

Promoting wellbeing

Schemes to help promote good mental health among students will see the University build on successful pilot schemes in areas such as mindfulness to ensure they are more widely available. There will be a strong focus on providing information and access to practices that support good mental health as well as awareness raising about issues such as substance abuse.

The University will also build on existing initiatives run during Welcome Week, and develop a distinct strand of activity focussing on wellbeing.

Last but not least, there will be a strong focus on supporting student-led initiatives, including the continued development of Mental Health Awareness Week, an annual campaign led by Edinburgh University Students’ Association and Edinburgh University Sports Union.

Supporting students

The strategy was drawn up following consultation with key groups, including Edinburgh University Students' Association, the University Counselling Service and the Student Disability Service.

The release of the Student Mental Health Strategy shows a shared commitment from the University and the Students’ Association to promote good mental health and support students through tougher times. There’s still a lot of work to do around implementation of the strategy, but we look forward to the strategic and holistic changes put in place over the years to come as a result of this commitment.”

Jess HusbandsVice President (Societies & Activities), Edinburgh University Students' Association

Related links

Student Mental Health Strategy