College and university students are to benefit from a £20 million investment in additional mental health counsellors.
The Scottish Government is funding the appointments of more than 80 new counsellors over the next four years to improve mental health and wellbeing for further and higher education students. The recruitment is part of a package of measures totalling £250 million to support better mental health services across Scotland.
Institutions will receive more than £3.6 million this academic year. An additional £100,000 has been allocated to the Scottish Funding Council to support implementation in the first two years of the programme.
Health Secretary Jeane Freeman said:
“Supporting the health and wellbeing of students is essential if they are to achieve their full potential.
“Our significant investment - in more than 80 additional mental health counsellors over the next four years - will strengthen the support available in every college and university in Scotland.
“This is part of our wider investment in the services supporting young people's mental health, including the development of new community wellbeing services and a 24/7 crisis support service.
“I want every student to be able to access the mental health support they need, regardless of whether they are at college or university, and we will work closely with the sectors to achieve this.”
Chief Executive of the Scottish Funding Council Karen Watt said:
“Positive mental health is fundamental to students’ ability to progress and make the most of their education experience.
“This is what makes this announcement so important for colleges, universities and for students. The Scottish Funding Council is committed to making this investment work for all those who need access to counselling services.”
NUS Scotland President Liam McCabe said:
“Better mental health services for students has long been a campaign priority for NUS Scotland. We’re delighted that the Scottish Government has committed to invest in more counsellors for Scotland’s colleges and universities – and that students will begin benefitting this year.
“NUS Scotland is committed to ensuring every student, no matter where they study, has access to the best mental health support and we look forward to working with the Scottish Government to deliver just that in the years ahead.”
Each of Scotland’s colleges and universities will also be required to have a mental health strategy openly available through its website.
Institutions are also being urged to work with their student associations to address campus mental health issues through Student Mental Health Agreements as part of the Scottish Government backed NUS Scotland ‘Think Positive’ initiative.
Funding for counsellors 2019-20