First Minister Nicola Sturgeon announces additional £1.3m for mental health funding for students across Scotland
Nicola Sturgeon has announced that the Scottish Government will be providing universities and colleges across the country with an additional £1.32million of funding to improve mental health and well-being support for students.
This extra funding will build on the support already in place, including the additional counsellors provided by the Scottish Government’s recent investment of £3.64 million.
Additional Scottish Government funding will now allow support staff across institutions to carry out more frequent checks to identify potential mental health issues, as well as wider welfare concerns, such as access to food deliveries and other necessities.
The news comes as students across Scotland struggle with the mental health impacts of the Coronavirus pandemic.
Speaking at the daily briefing on Friday, Ms Sturgeon said: "This pandemic has placed an additional and quite severe strain on everybody’s mental health and well-being but we know that student’s have faced some particular pressures since the start of the new academic term.
"Many of them will be away from home for the first time which is always a difficult adjustment for young people to make but in addition to that they are having to adapt to new forms of learning and socialising and of course many students have had to deal with the challenge of self isolation so the Scottish government is providing an additional £1.3 million to improve mental health and well-being support specifically for students."
The funding will also help to increase the number of drop-in chats for students, which will offer counselling on a digital platform.
Staff will also be able to direct students to the appropriate services, including referring them to a clinician, if appropriate.
The First Minister noted that each institution, college or university will be able to spend the money in a way they think best meets the needs of their own students as well as ensuring “all students get the right support whenever they need it.”
The Scottish Government has also agreed additional financial support for Think Positive, NUS Scotland’s student mental health project.
Matt Crilly NUS Scotland President said:
“We warmly welcome today’s additional funding which will help to support students' mental health and wellbeing after a tough start to the academic year.”