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Access & Retention

Following UPP’s groundbreaking partnership with student mental health charity, Student Minds, the UPP Foundation has pledged support to Student Minds’ Student Living project, working in collaboration with Nottingham Trent University.

Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. Through a national network of university groups and peer support programmes, they work to empower students with the knowledge, confidence and skills to look after their own mental health and support others.

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The Student Minds Student Living project includes the development of a front-line staff training scheme, informed by a focused research project. The resulting guidance pack will be published to increase sector understanding of the experiences of staff working in accommodation and students. In addition, peer support for students will be piloted on-site at Nottingham Trent University. This project, which represents a first for the higher education sector, will help to inform UPP and the sector’s approach to student mental health.

One of the key UPP Foundation goals is increasing student retention and helping erode the barriers many students face to remaining in higher education. Student mental health is an extremely important issue and the UPP Foundation recognises the unique difficulties that can arise for students with mental health issues whilst studying at university.

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In order to create positive environments for students, Student Minds deliver research-driven training and support to equip students and staff with the tools necessary to bring about change on their campuses through campaigning and facilitating peer support programmes. Student Minds also run campaigns to increase awareness of mental health, including Student Mental Health Day, Eating Disorders Awareness Week and Mental Health Awareness Week.

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Rosie Tressler, Chief Executive Officer of Student Minds said:

“Student Minds are delighted to have the support of the UPP Foundation for our work across the UK, and for this exciting opportunity to develop a research-led, bespoke project in UPP accommodation at Nottingham Trent University. For students, many of whom will be moving away from home and established support networks for the first time, accommodation staff are a regular face at a time of change and can be the first to pick up on a student experiencing difficulties.

Around a third of students may be experiencing psychological levels of distress and we all have mental health, so ensuring that all members of the university community feel confident and supported in this area will have a big impact. By working with the UPP Foundation and NTU to take health promotion and peer support to where students actually live and socialise, could also provide exciting opportunities for prevention and supporting students to self-manage the transition. We look forward to publishing research for the wider sector following the pilot and thank the UPP Foundation for playing a leading role in developing this whole-community approach to supporting student mental health.”

Nottingham University and the UPP Foundation have teamed up to extend the University’s cultural outreach programme for local schools in deprived areas in and around Nottingham.

The UPP Foundation is supporting a project at Lancaster University that aims to share and celebrate the University’s rich diversity with its staff, students and local community.

The UPP Foundation is a grant-making body and a public policy platform, working to encourage collaboration and innovation within the higher education sector. If you would like to contribute to this discourse or find out more about the UPP Foundation please get in touch.