Coventry University will maximise its efforts to target mental health and wellbeing support at students who are “less likely to reach out for help.”
The university’s new project aims to develop a sustainable and “student-centric” set of resources aimed at supporting the mental health of students from ethnic minority backgrounds.
The project will focus on the development of a “robust and clear support pathway between the university and external health providers, including NHS agencies” to drive improvement in access to mental health support and build “a seamless experience for students moving from NHS care to the university’s services and vice versa.”
The launch of the project follows evidence that suggests undergraduate students from ethnic minority backgrounds are more likely to experience barriers to accessing mental health services and related support within higher education.
The initiative is backed by the Office for Students (OfS) with investment from the Department of Health and Social Care and the Department for Education.
The Office for Students (OfS) has now backed Coventry University to work with ‘It Takes Balls to Talk’ (ITBTT), Coventry and Warwickshire Partnership Trust (CWPT), Students Minds, Coventry University Students’ Union (CUSU), and Better Futures MAT to effectively deliver this latest mental health and wellbeing initiative.
This isn’t the first targeted mental health intervention from the university, in January 2020, Coventry University Group invested in a new university-wide health and wellbeing programme and has produced “supportive interventions, resources, and activities for staff and students throughout the pandemic.”
Professor Lisa Bayliss-Pratt, Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Health and Life Sciences) at Coventry University, said: “This project is very exciting, we very much look forward to working with collaborators to enhance our current understanding of the mental health and wellbeing needs of our students, with a crucial focus on students from ethnically diverse backgrounds”.
Chris Millward, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students, said: “Having a mental health condition should not be a barrier to success in higher education, but for many students, this is still the case. Data shows that students reporting a mental health condition are more likely to drop out and less likely to graduate with a first or 2:1 and progress into skilled work or further study.
“That’s why this funding of targeted interventions for student mental health is so important. By paying attention to the diverse needs of students; universities and colleges can fine-tune the support they offer and ensure that all students, regardless of where they are from, have the best chance possible to succeed.”