£575k boost for student mental health provision in Liverpool

A University of Liverpool led partnership has been awarded £575k worth of funding from the Office for Students for a project to further develop mental health provision for students across Liverpool.

The project will employ staff in Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust’s Hope Clinic, which supports people following self-harm, Assessment services, which offer assessment and support to people experiencing mental health crisis and Clinical Psychology who in conjunction with the University mental health advisors will develop group interventions for a range of mental health issues including eating disorders, anxiety and depression.

The partnership, made up of representatives from the University of Liverpool, Liverpool John Moores University, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, Brownlow Health and The Innovation Agency, the Academic Health Science Network for the North West Coast, was awarded the grant following a successful funding bid. The partners will work together to create clear clinical pathways and protocols that will help to further develop referral routes and access for students. This approach will also improve NHS staff understanding of student needs.

Students’ views will be central to the development of the project and there will be formal and informal opportunities for students to contribute to the development of the work.

In addition to this local project, the University is also part of a successful national bid which aims to share learning about partnership working between universities and the NHS. This will accelerate the learning from our project and enable us to contribute to the development of national good practice.

The OfS made £6m available for these important projects and submitted bids were worth more than £21m.

Dr Paula Harrison Woods, Director of Student Administration and Support, University of Liverpool, said: “We are absolutely delighted that our bid has been successful. This project gives us a great opportunity to further develop mental health provision for students across Liverpool and to ensure that the NHS and universities learn from each other to deliver the best possible services for students. We are looking forward to working with our students on this exciting initiative.”

Nicky Fearon, Head of Student Mental Health and Wellbeing, Mersey Care NHS Foundation Trust, said: “This is a fantastic opportunity to work with our University colleagues and students to develop a detailed understanding of the issues impacting on student mental health and then importantly to trial a number of different tailored evidence based interventions and evaluate which ones have the most impact on students wellbeing and progression. These outcomes will help shape future mental health and university service developments.”

Yvonne Turnbull, Director of Student Advice and Wellbeing Services at Liverpool John Moores University, said: “It is fantastic news that we have been successful in our bid for funding to enhance mental health provision for students in our city. It is absolutely vital that the appropriate referral routes are in place for students to access timely and effective NHS support in Liverpool when they need it most. This project is part of LJMU’s commitment to supporting our students with their health and wellbeing.”

Dr Liz Mear, Chief Executive of the Innovation Agency, said: “It’s fantastic to be working in partnership to develop an integrated model of support for students. The strengthened collaborative working between the NHS and university sector will allow us to deliver services to meet the varying and escalating needs of students. We look forward to sharing the outcomes and lessons learned from our partnership to allow other areas of the country to do the same.”