Start to Success Project – Keele and Staffordshire Universities working in partnership with Combined Healthcare

North Staffordshire Combined Healthcare is excited to be working as a key partner to the Start to Success project in collaboration with both Keele and Staffordshire University to develop new and innovative approaches to needs assessment and referral pathways, allowing for a more streamlined and sensitive approach to supporting students effectively in both emergency and planned situations.

The mental health of university students has been a focus of increasing concern in the UK, with a weight of evidence suggesting that large numbers of the student population are experiencing poor mental health. The number of students declaring a pre–existing mental illness to their university has more than doubled since 2014/15. There have also been increases in demand for services to support student mental health – with reports suggesting that some universities are seeing a doubling in the number of students accessing support.

Significantly, the majority of students fall into the high-risk age range for developing a mental illness and also suicide, they also experience unique pressures and challenges which can be a direct cause of mental ill health or exacerbate existing difficulties. Over the past few years Universities have been in the spotlight and under increasing pressure to tackle this.

The aims are to develop an integrated ‘whole community’ approach to mental health and wellbeing for students studying in Further and High Education in Stoke and North Staffordshire.  The region’s universities, colleges, local authorities, police and NHS providers have come together with a common purpose to remove barriers, improve support and services and enable success.  Supported by funding from the Office for Students (the national regulator of higher education) and working alongside students from across the region, the project will look across all aspects of the student journey to support effective transitions

Student Champion role’s which will be embedded into key teams across the trust. The Student Champions will be working closely with both University’s to gain an in depth understanding of the difficulties and unique challenges students face and to raise awareness within their teams, they will also be developing improved communication pathways and a more streamlined approach.

If you would like any more information about Start to Success please contact:

Deb Boughey, NHS/HE liaison Project Officer 

Sam Mortimer, Associate Director North Staffs Locality and Combined Healthcare lead for Start to Success,

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