KeeleSU, in consultation with the University, have been reviewing the service provided by the Nightline society. We have looked at what support is currently available to students in terms of support, how accessible it is and the range of support available.
We have looked at how the Nightline service has been delivered, how often it has been delivered, service demand, volunteer hours, how and what training has been provided and how the committee have been operating. We have also looked at volunteering opportunities available for students wanting to volunteer in the area of mental health. To ensure the best possible support for our students we need to ensure that those giving support are professionally trained in line with sector best practice. Unfortunately, the existing Nightline service is unable to meet these standards.
The Students’ Union has made the decision, in collaboration with key stakeholders across the University, to withdraw the service and disband the society from September 2019. As an organisation we have a duty of care to protect and support students and volunteers. This has also informed our decision making process. We will continue to review and enhance the full suite of student support services over the coming 24 months to ensure that students are provided with the channels and resources needed.
Student support and mental health provision at Keele has increased significantly in recent years. In addition to the integrated community approach to mental health, the University provides dedicated specialist student support services, including a counselling and mental health team, and a recently introduced out-of-hours staff support staff. Keele students can also now access free online support via Big White Wall, which provides 24/7 online peer and professional support, with trained counsellors, 365 days a year. For more information on these services and others in the local area please visit https://www.keele.ac.uk/students/counsellingmh/outofhourssupport/.
The University is offering the opportunity for students to be involved in feeding into Keele’s strategy on mental health provision. This year the Office for Students awarded funding for Keele to lead a regional partnership that is developing an integrated community approach to mental health and wellbeing for students as part of a £2.2 million project, providing opportunities for engagement with both on- and off-campus students, the opportunity for early intervention, and reducing the risk of isolation. This project is being co-developed and delivered by Keele and Staffordshire University and students are involved at all levels; for example, there is student representation within the governance structure to ensure student input at the highest level. There are a number of opportunities to participate in the student consultation related to this project, through focus groups, surveys and expert panels. The University also have volunteering opportunities, enabling students to provide welfare support directly to students in a safe and supported environment via our Resident Adviser and Peer Mentor schemes.