University Mental Health Day 2024

Posted by Devon Partnership Trust in Mental health, News on 12th March, 2024

UCMHTToday is University Mental Health Day offering an opportunity for the university community to come together to talk about mental health and how the pressures of studying, living away from home and new social circles can have a detrimental impact on students.

The University of Exeter has a University Community Mental Health Team (UCMHT) with practitioners from within Devon Partnership NHS Trust. The team focus on students with moderate to severe mental health conditions such as eating disorders, emerging personality disorders and mood disorders. The team’s Senior Mental Health Practitioners are based on the Exeter Streatham campus in order to provide direct support to students. The hope is that the team can keep students safe when in periods of mental health crisis, helping them get the support they need so that they can continue, where possible, with their studies. Students need a referral from the GP, Psychiatric Liaison or the Mental Health Assessment and Brief Intervention Team in order to see one of the Senior Mental Health Practitioners.

Liz Hook, Senior Mental Health Practitioner says: "The University offer their own mental health support in the form of a wellbeing team and if appropriate students will be referred on to our small team of mixed professionals. Students continue to struggle with increased challenges post-pandemic, including managing complex mental health issues, their studies, and feelings of isolation and loneliness. The work we do supports students to receive appropriate care whilst they continue their studies and prepare for the future.

"We are very honoured that our team was nominated for a Pride of DPT award recently for our achievements including reducing the waiting list by half, improved ways of working and our commitment to the work we do. A member of our team Dr Nahory Hernandez-Mancilla also won an individual Together Award."

Nahory said: "Despite being a small team, we are very supportive of each other and our different skills complement our work with very complex cases."

Lesley Murch, University Community Mental Health Team Manager said: "Reducing the waiting list is an excellent achievement, especially in the context of the ever growing student population. Recently we have relocated to a new office with clinic space on campus which is very positive. We continue to build relationships and collaborative working with the University Wellbeing team and other partner agencies, to ensure needs are met as well as possible and discrimination and stigma are combatted."

The UCMHT team consists of a Team Manager, Psychologists, Occupational Therapist, Social Worker, Deputy Manager, Administration Clerk and Psychiatric Nurse.

Additionally, there is a Psychiatric Consultant, and Support Worker. There are currently nine people that make up the UCMHT team. There is also regularly a student from different professions on placement with the team to experience what it’s like to work in a UCMHT.

For those students who may be struggling with their mental health and wellbeing due to the pandemic, Student Space offers help, advice, and links to additional support services.