Charity Calls For Clarity Regarding Informing Families Of Student Mental Health

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CW: mental health

Neither the Office for Students nor UCAS has a record of which universities offer an opt-in system for informing families of student mental health crisis.

Currently, universities are under no obligation to inform parents. The social mobility charity, My Big Career, has argued that the current mental health provisions of universities are a lottery. They have called upon all universities to offer an ‘opt-in’ system to inform family members in the event of a student mental health crisis.

However, Universities UK has warned that involving students’ families may worsen these situations. As adults, students are entitled to privacy and must be asked for permission to revoke this right.

The University of Bristol has introduced an ‘opt-in’ system which gives permission for emergency contacts to be informed if there are ‘serious concerns‘ for a student’s wellbeing. 93% of students at the University of Bristol have opted in. Last year, emergency contacts were reached out to on 36 occasions.

UCAS has stated that students who declare mental health conditions in their application to university are typically contacted to talk about what support is available to them.

A spokesperson for the Department of Education has stated that:

Universities should work to improve how they involve family members in mental health support, while ensuring that students’ best interests are central to any decisions about their care.

If there is an emergency, contact 999. For less urgent situations, please contact 111 or a GP. Confidential listening support is also provided by the Samaritans on 116 123 and Southampton Nightline on 02380595236.

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Politics Editor 2019/20 Studying Politics & International Relations

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