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Wednesday, October 4, 2023

Students Vote for Improved and Specialised Mental Health Support at UHI

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Students attending HISA’s annual Students’ Association Conference, HISA Con, at the end of January voted in favour of improved mental health support across the University of the Highlands and Islands, including the provision of counsellors over break periods and specialised counselling for liberation groups such as BAME and LGBTQ+ students.

The event, which ran from Monday 25th to Friday 29th January, focussed on the changing world of employability, a topic that has been at the forefront of national concern over the past year, and saw interactive workshops, keynote speakers and various activities designed to help students of the University of the Highlands and Islands make the most of their student experience.

As a whole, the event helps shape the decisions, policies, and actions that both HISA and the University of the Highlands and Islands will work on throughout the year.

The now passed policies will see the student representatives of HISA lobby the institution for increased counsellors to offer mental health support to students over the holidays, as well as specialised counsellors to be made available by request for specific student groups.

HISA Vice President of Further Education, Mx. Ash Morgan (pictured), said:

“HISA is delighted that the students that attended our annual Students’ Association conference, HISA Con, at the end of January, chose to vote through all mental health related policies put forward by HISA officers and students.

“These also include several policies that, while not immediately or obviously linked to mental health, could have a huge impact on the welfare of our students across the University of the Highlands and Islands, such as tackling the BAME attainment gap and increasing efforts to involve students in community projects and charities.

“In our opinion, this vote shows a real urgency for more mental health provision, not only from the university but from the government who have starved mental health services of sufficient budget for over a decade now.”

University of the Highlands and Islands Mental Health and Counselling Manager, Allie Scott, said:

“The university has already significantly increased its provision of mental health and wellbeing support, including the employment of additional counsellors across the Highlands and Islands and investment in the 24/7 online support platform Togetherall.

“Nevertheless, we are not complacent about the challenges our students are facing and will continue to work closely with HISA to ensure that students’ needs are being identified and supported.”

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