Mental Health in Further Education

by NUS Democracy Admin 14 February 2020, 15:31

Category: Policy Topic Idea

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Submitted by: Blackpool & The Fylde College, Activate Learning and Sheffield College

What are the problems?

More and more people experience mental health issues while they are in education.

Students don’t always know about the services that their Colleges provide, or some services are only for staff. Some people will want to access mental health services where they learn, and others will feel more comfortable using services off-site, and options should exist for both types of service to be available for students. 

There are also education providers which have a severe lack of mental health services all together.

When they need to access mental health services, sometimes, students have to wait on a waiting list, for six weeks or more, and NHS waiting times can be months long.

What could be the solutions?

In an ideal world, there would be places that people could go to talk to about their mental health without having to wait or make an appointment, and places to drop in to. This would help a lot of people out. There should be the choice of how to get your support – inside or outside education.

Some local areas give out information for young people, not just about mental health services but also about other youth services that are available – we should look at how this approach can be taken up elsewhere.

The NHS should be properly funded to provide these services within and outside education, so that we can have high quality provision outside and inside – we can’t put the responsibility only on Colleges to fund mental health services, the government needs to prioritise their money better!

NUS can lobby for greater funding for the NHS to ensure we get better mental health support, but we can also support students’ unions in the immediate future. We can help students’ unions to lobby their colleges for flexible mental health support which means students can be supported out of learning hours and to develop peer support schemes where all those involved are adequately safeguarded.