The University of York is investing up £500,000 in mental health care provision over the next three years to further enhance student support services and strengthen its community partnerships in promoting positive mental well-being.
The investment follows a six-month review of University mental health support, prompted by an increasing demand on services from students and disruptions to mental health provision in the city.
Responding to the recommendations of the review, the University is expanding its in-house counselling service, with the addition of two new members of staff, to ensure that those who need urgent appointments can be seen quickly.
Vice-Chancellor Professor Koen Lamberts (pictured) said: “Promoting positive mental health is an important responsibility for universities, but also society as a whole. As the number of students considering higher education grows, we must work hard to encourage openness between staff and students to talk about these issues in a supportive environment.
“Working together with our partners in the NHS, we aim to strengthen our mental health support and raise awareness amongst our staff and students on how to identify signs of ill health and what resources are available to help.”
Improvements have already been made in the delivery of support services online and by telephone, and the University has committed to continue funding student-led initiatives such as Nightline.
York’s Student Union (YUSU) is also leading a social media campaign to promote positive use of digital platforms and help create a supportive online community. Additional guidance is being made available for academic departments, which play an important role through the supervisor system and the training of mental health first-aiders.
The University has also participated in a multi-agency city-wide task force to examine the adequacy of mental health support across the city, following the closure of York’s Bootham Park hospital in 2015. As part of this, the University will develop new and expanded facilities for its on-campus GP practice and their associated health care professionals.