Abertay aims to improve NHS referral pathways

Universities UK’s Stepchange Framework looks at student mental health and wellbeing through four ‘domains’ of Learn, Support, Work and Live. Universities currently resource a wide range of services to support those experiencing mental illness, as the following example shows.

Abertay University recognises that there are times when students need mental health support beyond the means of the university sector.

The University’s Student Counselling and Mental Health service has noticed significant increases in students needing support from NHS Tayside’s Mental Health Crisis Team. Yet, access to the Crisis Team has historically been slow causing issues in referring students in need of immediate mental health support to the NHS.

To address this, Abertay University and its neighbour Dundee University have developed a pilot scheme, in collaboration with NHS Tayside, for a referral pathway directly into NHS Tayside’s mental health services to the Crisis Resolution Home Treatment Team (CRHTT). This means that the universities’ mental health services are able to directly refer students in need of urgent help to the appropriate team at Carseview Centre, a mental health unit at Ninewells Hospital in Dundee.

The pathway enables students in crisis or emergency to gain early and urgent NHS access to the service with the student being triaged within four hours of referral. If the student cannot get themselves to the Crisis Team, the University now has a contract with a taxi service to transport them.