Westminster Higher Education Forum

Priorities for supporting student mental health

Morning, Tuesday, 21st January 2020

Central London


With renewed focus by 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. Attendees will 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 amongst HEIs and their varying approaches to support, as well as within the student population and individual needs.

There will be a keynote contribution from Rosie Tressler, Chief Executive Officer, Student Minds, which is leading the development of the Charter, on key messages from the consultation and next steps for developing assessment and piloting the scheme in 2020.

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. It follows the Government announcement of a new taskforce, the Education Transitions Network, dedicated to developing measures to support students in four key risk areas for mental health - arising from the pressures of living and learning independently, and the challenges of forming healthy relationships and access to support for their wellbeing.

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. Attendees will also 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.

Further sessions will address measures aimed at existing university students, looking at how to promote emotional resilience and improve mental wellbeing amongst students, drawing on innovative case study examples. This follows the Office for Students’ announcement of a £14.5m investment in projects led by universities and colleges to trial new ways to support student mental health.

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