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Chamber and committees

Question ref. S6W-05709
Asked by: Willie Rennie, North East Fife, Scottish Liberal Democrats
Date lodged: 21 January 2022

Question

To ask the Scottish Government what steps it is taking to ensure that college and university students in Scotland are provided with access to a range of psychological therapies.

Current status: Answered by Jamie Hepburn on 1 February 2022


Answer

The Scottish Government has invested over £11.5 million in the last three academic years, to support our commitment to introduce more than 80 additional counsellors in colleges and universities. We are well on our way to achieving this target.

Funding for the 2021-22 Academic Year has been set at £4.23 million, an increase of almost £0.6 million on last year’s budget.

Furthermore, we remain committed to the development of a Student Mental Health National Action Plan, which will address waiting times, ensure equity of access to counsellors, and embed mental health and wellbeing into the curriculum. We will be reforming the Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Working Group in February 2022 to help shape that Plan.

I recently met with Universities Scotland on 12 January 2022, to discuss the appropriate referral pathways for students across Scotland and specific challenges they may face in accessing support. At this meeting, we agreed that, as part of the development of a Student Mental Health and Wellbeing National Action Plan, representatives from NHS Health Boards, the higher education sector and representatives from Scottish Government will work to understand the specific needs of students and where improvements to student mental health support may be facilitated.