Finding our own way

29 January 2019

Mental health and moving from school to further and higher education

Androulla Harris

Transitions between school, college and university can put pressure on students’ mental health. Finding our own way explores the impact of transitions between further and higher education on students’ mental health and ways in which these might be improved.

Funded by Charlie Waller Memorial Trust, we reviewed current evidence and conducted research with students, teachers and staff. The research we conducted highlighted young people’s concerns around academic demands, living at university and financial pressures, and highlighted the major upheaval which these transitions can cause.

Mental health difficulties are increasing amongst further and higher education students, and whilst more students are seeking help from university counselling services, not everyone is accessing timely support. The report highlights the lack of joined-up NHS support for students living between two locations, and its recommendations include:

  • Calling on universities to strengthen the personal tutor role to offer more frequent support
  • Calling on colleges and universities to offer young people with special educational needs, disabilities and mental health issues additional support or extended transitions 
  • The creation of a stand-alone website which curates helpful resources on the topic of transitions to help alleviate young people’s anxiety
  • Calling on NHS England and clinical commissioning groups to ensure continuity of care for young people in CAMHS throughout their education, including the transition to university/FE college.

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