Westminster Higher Education Forum

Priorities for supporting student mental health

Morning, Tuesday, 21st January 2020

Central London


This seminar focuses on supporting student mental health - looking at latest developments, priorities, and the responsibilities of the HE sector.

It includes keynote contributions from: John de Pury, Assistant Director of Policy, Universities UK; Ben Jordan, Senior Policy and Qualifications Manager, UCAS; Rosie Tressler, Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds; and a senior speaker confirmed from the Office for Students.

The University Mental Health Charter

With renewed focus by the Government on student mental health, delegates will discuss the development and implementation of the Government-backed University Mental Health Charter, which is due to be published in December 2019.

They will also assess the Charter’s key principles, which are expected to include:

  • an emphasis on university-wide involvement;
  • an evidence-based and collaborative approach to Charter development and implementation; and
  • a recognition of diversity both among HEIs and their varying approaches to support, as well as within the student population and individual needs.

Strategies for the prevention of mental health issues

Delegates will consider how schools, colleges and universities can better support students transitioning to university, with a particular focus on students from disadvantaged or non-traditional backgrounds.

Further sessions look at the way forward for improving the use of data to better identify characteristics signalling increased risk of mental illness and facilitating conversations between HEIs and incoming students.

Those attending will also discuss measures aimed at existing university students, looking at how to promote emotional resilience and improve mental wellbeing among students, drawing on innovative case study examples.

A collaborative approach to mental health care

We also expect discussion on ensuring accessibility of mental health services and identifying students at risk.

Delegates will explore how universities can encourage students to access help, including by working to destigmatise mental illness and boosting visibility of support services, and how institutions can better identify students at risk.

Further sessions will consider priorities for developing a whole university framework for mental health and an integrated approach to delivery of mental health care with NHS and third sector partners.

Keynote Speaker

Rosie Tressler

Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds

Keynote Speakers

Rosie Tressler

Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds

Senior speaker confirmed from the Office for Students


The Earl of Listowel


John de Pury

Assistant Director of Policy, Universities UK

Jenny Shaw

Student Experience Director, Unite Students

Ben Jordan

Senior Policy and Qualifications Manager, UCAS

Anne Marie Graham

Chief Executive, UK Council for International Student Affairs

Alan Percy

Head of Counselling Service, University of Oxford

Dr Phil Richards

Chief Innovation Officer, Jisc

Dr Harriet Jones

Director, Pre-University Skills Programme and Senior Lecturer, School of Biological Sciences, University of East Anglia

Jane Baldwin

Head of Inclusion, New Horizons Federation

Liz Purbrick

Inclusion Manager, England Athletics

Nick Bennett

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, Fika

Gareth Hughes

Psychotherapist and Research Lead, Student Wellbeing, University of Derby

Alison Cousens

Assistant Principal (Director of Student Services), Brighton, Hove & Sussex Sixth Form College