Today is Time to Talk Day – a day when everyone is encouraged to have a conversation about mental health.
To coincide with this national awareness day, our new mental health service at the University of Exeter is celebrating it's launch.
The University Community Mental Health Team (UCMHT) will focus on students with moderate to severe mental health conditions such as eating disorders, emerging personality disorders and mood disorders.
Three Senior Mental Health Practitioners are now based on the University of Exeter’s Streatham campus, in order to provide direct support to students.
The service is funded by us, the University of Exeter and Devon County Council/the CCG via the improving Better Care Fund (iBFC).
John Lilley, Community Service Manager, said: "This exciting new service will be the first of its kind to place a dedicated, specialist NHS community mental health team on campus to address the mental health concerns of students. Our hope is that the team will keep students safe at times of mental health crisis, be responsive to their needs and help them stay engaged with their studies - so that their mental health issues don’t undermine their academic aspirations."
Students will still need a GP referral in order to see one of the Senior Mental Health Practitioners, but the specialists also plan to share their expert knowledge more broadly with students and staff; including plans for a number of talks.
A 2018 report produced by Universities UK showed a rise in the number of students at UK universities disclosing a mental health condition to their higher education institution – from 9,675 in 2007/8 to 57,305 a decade later in 2017/18 (both postgraduates and undergraduates).**
Time to Talk Day is run by Time to Change to help spread the word that there are lots of different ways to have a conversation about mental health. And you don’t have to be an expert to talk.
Time To Change is England’s biggest programme to challenge mental health stigma and discrimination and is run by the charities Mind and Rethink Mental Illness.
**Minding our future: starting a conversation about the support of student mental health, Universities UK, May 2018