Westminster Higher Education Forum

We are continuing to organise full-scale virtual conferences which retain all the features of physical seminars, including full programmes, presentations with slides, panel discussions and live delegate questions and comments sessions, person-to-person and group networking, and a permanent record provided to all delegates afterwards. New events are coming on to our conference programme all the time, so there are plenty of opportunities to join us if you haven’t already, from wherever you are.
For booking-related queries or information on speaking please email us at info@forumsupport.co.uk, or call +44 (0)1344 864796.

If you’re already booked on, joining instructions can be accessed from five working days before your conference via the booking dashboard. Need help? You can contact our Delegate Relations team at delegate.relations@forumsupport.co.uk or by calling the above number.

Improving student mental health in Higher Education

Morning, Tuesday, 30th November 2021

***Full-scale policy conference taking place online***

This conference will focus on priorities for supporting and improving student mental health as well as latest thinking on what policy support is necessary, best practice in multi-agency co-operation, and what is needed in the wake of the pandemic.

This will be an opportunity to discuss mental health among students in HE following the publication of the COVID-19 mental health and wellbeing recovery action plan earlier this year, which identifies children and young people as a key priority for suicide prevention and mental health support. Delegates will assess its proposals and the extent to which further support may be needed.

Following the relaxing of COVID restrictions, which have had a significant impact on the lives of students in HE over the past year, this conference is well timed to consider how the pandemic has affected students’ mental health, and priorities for support and pastoral care going forward.

We are pleased to be able to include keynote contributions on core issues, including:

  • policy priorities for supporting student mental health - Estelle Kane, Senior Officer, Access and Inclusion, Office for Students
  • mental health and suicide prevention - Lord Lucas of Crudwell and Dingwell
  • next steps for university mental health - Rosie Tressler, Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds


Our forums are known for attracting strong interest from policymakers and stakeholders. Places have been reserved by officials from the Department for Education; the Department for the Economy, NI; the DWP; and the Welsh Government. Also due to attend are representatives from Coleg Cambria; Erasmus Student Network UK; RCSI; SE Trust; Stay Healthy2study; The University of Stirling Students' Union; University of Exeter; University of Plymouth; University of Portsmouth; and University of Southampton.

Overall, we expect speakers and attendees to be a senior and informed group including Members of both Houses of Parliament, senior government and regulatory officials involved in this area of policy, as well as from higher education stakeholders including student unions, university leaders, teachers and teaching associations, wellness and counselling personnel, mental health practitioners, equality and human rights campaigners, disability advocates, peer mentoring groups, anti-bullying online learning platforms, academic researchers, together with reporters from the national and specialist media.

This is a full-scale conference taking place online***

  • full, four-hour programme including comfort breaks - you’ll also get a full recording and transcript to refer back to
  • information-rich discussion involving key policymakers and stakeholders
  • conference materials provided in advance, including speaker biographies
  • speakers presenting via webcam, accompanied by slides if they wish, using the Cisco WebEx professional online conference platform (easy for delegates - we’ll provide full details)
  • opportunities for live delegate questions and comments with all speakers
  • a recording of the addresses, all slides cleared by speakers, and further materials, is made available to all delegates afterwards as a permanent record of the proceedings
  • delegates are able to add their own written comments and articles following the conference, to be distributed to all attendees and more widely
  • networking too - there will be opportunities for delegates to e-meet and interact - we’ll tell you how!

Full information and guidance on how to take part will be sent to delegates before the conference

Keynote Speakers

Lord Lucas of Crudwell and Dingwell

Rosie Tressler

Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds

Keynote Speakers

Estelle Kane

Access, Inclusion and Skills Manager, Office for Students

Lord Lucas of Crudwell and Dingwell

Rosie Tressler

Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds


Baroness Tyler

Vice Chair, All-Party Parliamentary Group on Mental Health

Baroness Bennett of Manor Castle

former Leader, Green Party of England and Wales


Parvathy Ramesh

PhD Student, University of Manchester and International Student Ambassador, UKCISA

Sabrina Starke

University Partnership Manager, Absolute Internship

Nicola Turner

Policy Adviser (Widening Access and Participation, Schools and Careers Education), UCAS

Dr Dominique Thompson

Founder, Buzz Consulting and Member, Clinical Advisory Group, Student Minds

Professor Edward Watkins

Professor of Experimental and Applied Clinical Psychology, School of Psychology, University of Exeter

Professor Joe Rafferty

Chief Executive, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust and Chair, Zero Suicide Alliance

Dr Jason Arday

Associate Professor of Sociology, Department of Sociology, Durham University

Ruth Wilson

Director of Student Support and Engagement, Leeds Trinity University

Harry Bliss

CEO and Co-Founder, Champion Health

Jeremy Lyons

BreatheUni Coordinator, Shawmind

Alice Ludgate

Head of Student Services, University of Plymouth

George Hosking