A De Montfort University Leicester (DMU) project to provide targeted mental health support for BAME students has been successful in receiving government funding as part of a £6 million boost to university mental health services.
The Office for Students (OFS) has awarded DMU the funding to help provide more services for students in social economic and BAME groups whom are more likely experience mental health issues as well as face additional barriers in accessing services.
The project named, ‘Building Bridges to Wellbeing’ aims to provide students with new pathways to the support they need and bridge the gap between the university’s diverse student community and timely recovery mental health support.
As part of the project, working directly with students, the university is partnering with the NHS Leicestershire Mental Health Partnership Trust to create new and easily accessible pathways to services needed with a shared focus on access and recovery.
Students will also be able to work with the aid of a Mental Health Intervention Officer (MHIT) who will create safe spaces for students, help break down any barriers in accessing support and help students feel in control of their recovery via a person-centred intervention plan.
Phil Scarffe, Head of Student Welfare at DMU, said: “I am delighted that DMU has received funding from OFS for our Building Bridges to Wellbeing Project.
“The project aims to explore how we can work together with the NHS to create more easily accessible routes to specialist mental health support, and recognises that barriers may be greater for some BAME students, and students from some socio-economic backgrounds.
“By working in partnership with the NHS over the two years of the project we aim to build joint approaches to supporting recovery, which will put students at the heart of the decision-making process.”
DMU is one of 18 universities across the country to be part of the £6 million programme, made up of funding from the Department of Health and Social Care, the Department for Education, and a co-investment from universities, colleges and partner organisations taking part.
Chris Millward, director for fair access and participation at the Office for Students, said: “Having a mental health condition should not be a barrier to success in higher education, but for many students this is still the case.
“We know that students come to university or college from a range of backgrounds and that their individual journey, and the kind of support they require, is likely to be influenced by their specific circumstances.
“That’s why this funding of targeted interventions for student mental health is so important. By paying attention to the diverse needs of students; universities and colleges can fine-tune the support they offer and ensure that all students, regardless of where they are from, have the best chance possible to succeed.”
He added: “Working with the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education, we are pleased to be able to fund projects across a range universities and colleges targeting a number of priority groups.
“We look forward to working with these projects to develop and evaluate innovative and collaborative approaches to targeted support for student mental health, and to support the take-up of this learning for the benefit of students in all parts of the sector.”
Posted on Friday 20th August 2021