A new NHS mental health service for all students living in Cardiff and studying at one of the city’s universities has officially been launched.
The Mental Health University Liaison Service (MHULS), which has been running since April 2022, sets out to provide solutions to the growing demand and risk surrounding student mental health and is aimed at students with moderate mental health problems or more complex long-standing mental health issues.
The MHULS specifically addresses an identified gap between a university’s mandate for supporting students and the threshold for gaining access to services provided by the NHS, where students often require an NHS referral or assessment.
NHS clinicians make up the MHULS team and are based within student support services on university campuses to help bridge this gap by providing students with a means to be assessed, referred and guided through NHS services, while ensuring universities are involved in ongoing support plans.
Support includes detailed mental health assessments, completing safety plans for students, onwards referral and signposting to other services, as well as attending review meetings with relevant stakeholders.
Students can access the new service through referral from their University Student Services department, Adult Liaison Psychiatry, or their GP.
The pilot has been developed by the South East Wales Mental Health Partnership, which includes Cardiff and Vale University Health Board, Cardiff University, Cardiff Metropolitan University, the University of South Wales, and the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama.
Phase one of the pilot is available to students over 18 who are studying at one of these institutions and living in the catchment of Cardiff and Vale University Health Board.
For students who live outside the Cardiff area, the project is improving links with neighbouring health boards including Aneurin Bevan University Health Board, Cwm Taf Morgannwg University Health Board and Swansea Bay University Health Board, to improve the ability to refer to the appropriate mental health services as needed by the student.
Phase one of the pilot has been funded by the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales (HEFCW) until December 2022. Plans for continuation of the work are being developed by the partnership.
Deputy Minister for Mental Health and Wellbeing, Lynne Neagle, said: “Everyone has the right to a happy education experience. I am pleased to see the official launch of the Mental Health University Liaison Service, which is already making a difference to the lives of students in Cardiff. Supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing is essential to ensuring they get a good education, and it’s great to see partners working together to achieve that.”