Mel Stride

    CENTRAL Devon MP Mel Stride has described the creation of a new student mental health taskforce to help young people manage the challenges that university can present as “extremely important” in improving student welfare. The Education Secretary made the announcement on University Mental Health Day on Thursday 7th March. A 2016 YouGov survey found that more than a quarter of students reported having a mental health problem.

    The taskforce will be made up of representatives from leading sector groups such as UCAS, the National Union of Students, Student Minds, Universities UK, the Association of Colleges and the Office for Students. It will support students in dealing with the challenges of moving away from home, managing finances and adjusting to degree-level study.

    Mr Stride said: 

    “Going away to university can exacerbate pre-existing mental health conditions and lead to problems for students who have not had issues before. For every student who finds it exciting to have their independence, another may find it isolating to suddenly be without the support network they have had their entire life. There are also pressures that students suddenly have to deal with such as manging their finances, organising their own accommodation, exam stress and inevitable peer-pressure.”

    Since becoming an MP in 2010 Mr Stride has organised several trips for sixth form students from the three colleges in his constituency – South Dartmoor Community College in Ashburton, Queen Elizabeth’s in Crediton and Okehampton College – to visit Oxford University, which he attended, to give them a glimpse into university life and make applying to top universities seem less daunting.