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Unique specialist mental health service for students

18 Nov 2019

New partnership to benefit not only our University’s students, but also hundreds of students a year from across the entire city-region

Mental health in Scrabble letters

A unique new specialist NHS service in Greater Manchester will allow university students to get the help they need to overcome significant mental illness.

The Greater Manchester university student mental health service pilot provides expert support for students who have complex health needs – giving them timely access to professional help for conditions including psychosis, depression, personality disorders and eating disorders.

It is intended to meet the increasing mental health of university students and prevent them “falling between the cracks” of university and NHS services at a time when they are often away from the support they may get at home.

Around 500 students a year are expected to use the £1.6m service, which is the result of a unique partnership in England between Greater Manchester’s universities and the city region’s NHS.

A launch event at Whitworth Art Gallery today (Monday, 18 November) will see students join the Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham, university leaders and the team of mental health professionals who provide the service.

The Greater Manchester university student mental health service pilot is a partnership between The University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, University of Salford, University of Bolton, Royal Northern College of Music and Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership.

The service is provided by the Greater Manchester Mental Health Trust from a main clinic in the heart of The University of Manchester’s Oxford Road campus and satellite locations in Salford and Bolton.

The staffing team includes a consultant psychiatrist, a consultant psychologist, psychological therapists and mental health nurses. Around 40 students have already been seen by the service since the beginning of the autumn term.

Additional group therapy is provided by mental health charity 42nd Street, while the Sick! Festival will also provide arts-based events to involve students.

The £1.6m cost of the service over 2019/20 and 2020/21 is being met by the universities and the Greater Manchester Health and Social Care Partnership, with additional funding from industry sponsors.

Mayor of Greater Manchester Andy Burnham said: “Greater Manchester is using devolution to rethink and re-prioritise mental health support for young people.

“With one of the largest university populations in the country here in Greater Manchester, we have a collective duty to ensure that compassionate, responsive mental health services are available to all who need them, whenever they need them. When things are tough, we want everyone who lives, works, and studies in Greater Manchester to have access to the best possible support and guidance. This kind of service has the potential to make a real difference for our students, and I hope it can become a model for other places to follow.”

Our President and Vice-Chancellor, Professor Dame Nancy Rothwell said: “The mental health and wellbeing of our students is and always will be a top priority for us.

“Today’s students face all kinds of pressures and challenges in their lives. That is why it’s immensely important we identify and help those who may be struggling as soon as possible.

“This new and unique partnership will be at the heart of that process, benefitting not only our university’s students, but also hundreds of students a year from across the entire city-region.

“I am extremely pleased our University is playing a key role in the partnership. I hope the model becomes a beacon for the sector so it can be adopted and used to help students across the nation.”

More information

  • You can listen to Head of Campus Life Sarah Littlejohn talk about student mental health in our podcast, available on Spotify and YouTube.