Edinburgh expands mental health coordinator role

Universities UK’s Stepchange Framework looks at student mental health and wellbeing through four ‘domains’ of Learn, Support, Work and Live. Good mental health is
central to an engaged, productive and creative work environment, as the following example shows.

The University of Edinburgh has appointed a dedicated Student Mental Health Coordinator to further enhance its support for students experiencing mental health issues.

The role has operated since 2014 and involves managing individualised mental health support for students experiencing acute, complex or enduring mental health difficulties. On average, the Coordinator works with around 130 students per year.

In addition to supporting students on a day to day basis, the Coordinator has a critical job in facilitating the University’s training programme for academic and student support staff. The Coordinator runs sessions including ‘Understanding and Responding to Student Mental Health’ and also participates in Support for Study panels. Another key aspect of the role involves liaising with clinical staff at the Royal Infirmary Edinburgh and the Royal Edinburgh Hospital, and Community Mental Health Teams, and with welfare managers in private student accommodation.

The essential “on the ground” work supports the University’s wider Student Counselling Service, helping increase the capacity and efficiencies of the counselling team. The role is held by a professionally qualified Mental Health expert and its coordinating and liaison focus is essential for providing year-round support to the University’s diverse range of students. Since its inception, the role has been highly successful and the template for the role has been adopted by other universities in Scotland the rest of the UK.