Concerns raised over University of Wolverhampton mental health budget

The University of Wolverhampton has a mental health support budget of just £3 per student, according to mental health charity HUMEN.

The University of Wolverhampton
The University of Wolverhampton

HUMEN has revealed that the university has the smallest mental health budget of the 80 universities which it ranked based on their mental health provision.

It did this by assessing the satisfaction, engagement, awareness, financing, and service provision of the UK universities.

While Wolverhampton had the lowest budget, it came 62nd out of the 80 based on these five factors.

The University of Wolverhampton was rated as excellent for engagement, good for student satisfaction, and average for awareness.

However, it was also rated as poor for financing and service provision.

Meanwhile, the University of Birmingham came bottom of the pile, ranking 80th for its overall mental health care.

Professor Julia Clarke, deputy vice-chancellor at the University of Wolverhampton, said: “We take our responsibilities for the mental health and wellbeing of all our students very seriously.

“We know that the pandemic has had a direct effect on both the mental health and wellbeing of many of our students, as they have struggled to maintain their studies in the face of significant challenges and, as a result of this, we recently launched, in partnership with students and City of Wolverhampton Council, our Student Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy.

“This recognises that wellbeing needs to be an integral element of how we study and work every day, and also recognises the synergy between physical, social and mental wellbeing which equates to so much more than monetary value.

“Our aim through this strategy is to focus on several pillars including prevention, support and intervention and we are offering our students a multi-dimensional approach.

“We have focused our efforts during the past few years on introducing a variety of initiatives like our recent collaboration with national group, R;pple, which has seen us installing their internet browser tool on all University-owned devices, strengthening our commitment to suicide prevention – one of the first higher education institutions to adopt the approach.

"We also have a Student Support and Wellbeing Team in place and offer a wealth of resources for students including signposting them to key areas of support.

“Unfortunately, we cannot comment on the League Table published by HUMEN as they have not, as yet, shared their overall methodology with us.

“Once they do so we will, of course, consider their findings carefully and take any recommendations on board.

“Students have long had the option to disclose difficulties to our dedicated support team, students can access this service via requesting a welfare check or registering with the mental health and wellbeing team.

“The current key performance indicator for such support is for students to receive a response and scheduled appointment within 48 hours, a target our team of specialists consistently meets in offering a response within 24 hours.”

How it was ranked

HUMEN’s Mental Health League Table is calculated based on five criteria:

  • Satisfaction: including overall mental health support, quality of mental health services

  • Engagement: proportion of students who would use university services

  • Awareness: exploring the proportion of students who know where to find help at university

  • Financing: universities and their mental health budget per student

  • Provision: including staff training, designated members of staff and wait times

Eighty universities were approached and those which didn’t respond to HUMEN’s Freedom of Information request were negatively marked.

A spokesperson for HUMEN said: "With suicide being the biggest killer of under 35s in the UK and following a series of high-profile student suicides during the pandemic, it’s important to ensure students are provided with quality, effective mental health support at university.

"It’s common-place to rank universities academically so students have informative, unbiased and up-to-date information to help them decide where to apply.

"When choosing a university, students and parents should be aware of the mental health support available to them and the quality of staff training - the league table will also hold UK universities to account."

Top Stories

More from the Express & Star

UK & International News