I was pleased to be re-elected as Chair of the All-Party Parliamentary Group for Students at our inaugural meeting for this Parliament today. The meeting also welcomed student representatives from around the country to discuss student mental health, with opening comments from the charity Student Minds about their recently published University Mental Health Charter.
The Charter sets out principles for a ‘whole university approach’ to student mental health, which has been broadly adopted across the sector. This means looking beyond student support services to all aspects of the student experience, on the themes of learning, working and living. The Charter was developed through extensive consultation across the sector as a tool for staff and students to use, with an Award Scheme to encourage action and provide some accountability.
During the meeting, student representatives made points about the need for increased resources for support services, with concern over funding cuts for counselling services and the pressures students face with the cost of living, balancing jobs with studies, and the need to succeed. There was general recognition of the need to address the issues within further education too. MPs agreed to raise the concerns and monitor progress in addressing them.