Steve Brine MP

for Winchester & Chandler's Ford

03 JUL 2018

New plan for student mental health

Steve Brine has welcomed news that the Government has set out plans for a new deal on student mental health.

Mental health problems among students are a significant issue for young people today, and more UK students than ever before are presenting with mental health conditions.

As the All Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health recently observed, in 2015/16, 15,395 UK-domiciled first year students at higher education institutions in the UK disclosed a mental health condition, almost five times the number in 2006/07.

In the same year, a record number of students with mental health problems (1,180) dropped out of university, and tragically, in 2016/17, there were 95 recorded university student suicides in England and Wales. The Government, working with Universities UK, the National Union of Students, Student Minds and the I-JUP Foundation, has now said it will take the necessary steps to reduce the risk factors behind student mental health problems.

As a result, they are taking four important measures.

First, the launch of a university Mental Health Charter, backed by the Government and led by the sector, will drive up standards in promoting student and staff mental health and wellbeing. Universities will be awarded a new designation for meeting improved standards. Criteria will include early intervention — stopping the risk factors that lead to mental health problems, data collection — gathering robust evidence on the scale and scope of the issues and leadership — ensuring universities take a joined-up approach to students' mental health, with all parts of the institution pulling together.

Second, there will be a Department for Education-led review into issues students face when going to university. As part of the Government's commitment to helping all students succeed at university, the Department for Education will work with the sector to review the support needed for students in the transition into university, particularly those with or at risk of mental health issues.

Third, the Government will be developing an opt-in requirement for universities, so they have permission to share information on student mental health with parents or a trusted person. In a recent survey, 75% of applicants expected universities to contact a parent or guardian in situations where they are faced with seriously challenges relating to their mental health. But currently, the rules prevent this.

Fourth, the Government will address how universities work with local mental health services. Better joint working between universities, local authorities, and health and care commissioners and providers can help deliver better care and support, and Ministers are working with universities to ensure they play their part in making this work.

Steve Brine said: "Student mental health is an important issue for young people, and we want to make sure that it is a top priority for the leadership of all our universities. I am sure they will get right behind this to ensure we do the best for the next generation of students."

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Tobacco Control Plan (19 Jul 2018)
Steve Brine: I will write to the hon. Gentleman about his first two points. As for the mass media point, the hard-hitting campaigns that we conduct through the mass media are incredibly powerful. Last year’s campaign showed a gentleman rolling a cigarette with roll-your-own tobacco made of blood and gore. That was very hard-hitting, and it had an incredibly good response mechanism when we tested it...

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Steve Brine: With the leave of the House, I will also respond to the debate, Mr Deputy Speaker. I am aware that I am standing in the middle of the A14—almost literally—which is tonight’s Adjournment debate, but I will respond to the points that have been raised in this short and small but perfectly formed debate. The shadow Minister—my good friend, the hon. Member for Washington...

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Steve Brine: I will give way.

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