Speak Up. Reach Out is Freshered's mental health initiative.
The NHS is urging students to access mental health support as soon as they need it following the rise in crisis services referrals.
The NHS has seen a rise in young people accessing mental health services following the pandemic. In 2021/2022 access for 18 to 25-year-olds was almost a fifth higher compared to pre-pandemic levels, whilst the NHS has seen an increase of almost a fifth in people being referred to mental health crisis services, compared to before the pandemic.
England’s mental health leader has now urged students to contact a health professional as soon as they feel they may need help.
NHS urges university students to seek mental health support
Claire Murdoch, NHS England’s National Mental Health Director, urged students and young people to ‘seek out mental health support as soon as they need it,’ and reminded them that ‘the NHS is here for you.’
The NHS is trialling the rollout of mental health hubs across five student-friendly cities including Liverpool, Manchester, Bristol, Sheffield, and North London.
According to a press release, 63% of young people wait two weeks or less to start treatment through the NHS’ Early Intervention in Psychosis pathway. This is above the 60% target.
The £3 million programme aims to close the gap between university and NHS services, and will help young people to access mental health support face to face as well as ‘to access immediate help, advice, or onward referral.’
Reminders to access talking therapies
The NHS has also reminded students that NHS Talking Therapies can be accessed anywhere in England, which means that students who are not yet registered to a GP practice in their university town can still access support.
Murdoch said: ‘Young people’s lives have faced enormous disruption over the last two years and life for students at university can be incredibly hard, which is exactly why NHS staff and partners have worked flat out to expand the help and mental health support available to young people.’
She said that for students at university accessing help is now ‘easier than ever.’
‘You may feel that you don’t want to burden others or are worried about what they might think, but the truth is – people care about you and they will want to help you.’