Joint working between providers and the NHS to support student mental health

Supporting the mental health of students requires collaboration between higher education providers and the NHS. Our guide for providers explores what is known about this issue and shares practical advice and resources.

In many cities and regions, local partnerships are forming between higher education providers, NHS organisations and local authorities to develop shared mental health strategies to improve the design and delivery of services for students.

However there remain challenges and gaps around the care of students experiencing poor mental health, where there is not effective joint working. Students can experience variation or gaps in mental health care, which impact upon their wellbeing and ability to succeed in higher education.

What’s the issue?

Inconsistencies and a lack of joint working between higher education providers and NHS providers create barriers for students accessing and transitioning between mental health services. A lack of coordinated work also leads to ineffective use of NHS resources.

Examples of issues:

  • Transition between child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) to adult mental health services (AMHS) are not well managed and difficult to navigate across different geographical areas
  • Referrals from university support services to mental health services are not made quickly or to the appropriate service
  • Key information is not shared with higher education providers that would identify students that are particularly vulnerable (for example after an admission to a hospital)
  • Duplicated care and resource for those involved in a student’s care
  • Students having to act as their own care coordinators
  • Students struggling to navigate services available to them
Published 12 July 2022

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