Westminster Higher Education Forum

Priorities for student mental health: developing the new University Mental Health Charter, facilitating the school-university transition and improving co-ordination between support providers

Morning, Monday, 28th January 2019

Central London


This timely seminar will examine the priorities for student mental health - assessing mental health provision currently available to students at university and discussing next steps to improve support.

With a renewed policy focus on student mental health in HE, delegates will examine the implications for university practice, and for students and staff.

It comes with the OfS launching a funding competition, encouraging universities and colleges to work with partners such as the NHS and mental health charities to find innovative ways of combating the rise in student mental health issues.

It also follows the Government’s letter to university Vice-Chancellors calling on them to prioritise student mental health and calls from the Secretary of State for universities to reach out to students’ emergency contacts when there is concern.

Discussion will also look at a series of new measures recently announced in this area - including the development of a new University Mental Health Charter - which will be developed in partnership with charities and higher education providers, and aims to oversee the development of new standards to promote student mental health and wellbeing.

The conference will be an opportunity for stakeholders and policymakers to discuss the development of the Charter and wider issues for universities as they seek to improve their provision of mental health services.

The agenda also looks at the transition for students from school and college to university, as the Department for Education prepares to set up a working group looking at potential ways to ensure that students get the best possible support, particularly in their first year at university.

Further sessions will discuss how to develop a collaborative and coordinated approach to mental health care at university and improve provision on campus in line with the recent recommendations of the UUK’s new guidance to improve the coordination of care between the NHS and universities, which advocated a greater emphasis on prevention from universities in order to reduce longer term risk factors and the development of local multi-agency support for students.

Keynote Speaker

Yvonne Hawkins

Director, Teaching Excellence and Student Experience, Office for Students

Guest of Honour

Dominic Kingaby

Student Experience Policy Lead, Mental Health, Department for Education

Keynote Speaker

Yvonne Hawkins

Director, Teaching Excellence and Student Experience, Office for Students


Rt Hon the Lord Hunt of Kings Heath

former Shadow Spokesperson on Health and Social Care

Baroness Watkins of Tavistock

Member, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Global Health


Dr Denise Meyer

Head of Wellbeing, University of Portsmouth Student Wellbeing Service

Rachel O’Brien

Disabled Students’ Officer, National Union of Students

Siân Jones-Davies

Senior Associate, Eversheds Sutherland

Rosie Tressler

Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds

Senior speaker confirmed from Office for National Statistics

Sue Baillie

Pastoral Director, Royal Grammar School, Newcastle

Rowan Munson

former Member, Youth Select Committee on Mental Health and Student, Philosophy, Politics & Economics, University College, University of Oxford

Professor Judith Squires

Pro Vice-Chancellor, Education and Students, University of Bristol

Dr Nihara Krause

Consultant Clinical Psychologist and Founder and Chief Executive Officer, stem4

Paul Jenkins

Chief Executive, Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust

Stuart Rimmer

Chief Executive Officer & Principal, East Coast College

Alan Percy

Head of Counselling Service, University of Oxford