Mental Health support in Higher Education



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The Children, Young People and Education Committee held an inquiry into Mental Health support in Higher Education.


On 29 March 2023 the Committee published its written report.(PDF,3MB)

On the 26 May the Committee received a response (PDF 238KB) to the report from the Welsh Government. A plenary debate was held on Wednesday 14 June 2023.


Background to the inquiry

The issue of mental health in higher education was raised by a number of stakeholders as part of the Committee’s consultation on priorities for the Sixth Senedd. It was also an issue considered as part of the Committee’s scrutiny of the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill, and the Committee indicated their intention to revisit the issue. At its meeting on 29 March 2022, the Committee agreed to do an inquiry looking at the effectiveness of support for students’ mental health and wellbeing; as well as the ongoing impacts of the pandemic and changes to teaching and learning practices.


Terms of Reference



Extent of need

>>>The current situation with regard to the mental health of students in higher education, and any particular challenges they face with their mental health and ability to access support.

>>>Whether there are different challenges with regard to mental health for different groups of students, and if there are any groups of students in higher education who are disproportionately affected by poor mental health.

>>>The effect, if any, that Covid-19 had generally on students’ mental health and well-being and the pandemic’s impact on the levels and type of support provided by the higher education sector.


Identification and provision

>>>How effectively higher education providers promote an ethos of universal good mental health and well-being to all students, and whether this an integral part of the learning experience and interactions with staff.

>>>How effectively the sector ensures early identification of students who need individual and targeted support.

>>>How effectively the higher education sector and the NHS work together to deliver the right mental health support for individual students when and where they need it.

>>>Whether there are specific issues with access to NHS mental health support, for example the impact of changing GPs more frequently; that many students are at an age where they are transitioning from CAMHS to adult mental health services; any issues with data sharing.

>>>How well the wider post-16 education sector works to promote good mental health, particularly with regard to transitions.


Welsh Government policy, legislation and funding

>>>How effectively the Welsh Government’s policy, funding and regulatory arrangements for the sector support the mental health of students in higher education, and whether there is more that the Welsh Government could do.

>>>In the context of the Tertiary Education and Research (Wales) Bill, what a whole-system approach to mental health and well-being in post-16 education may look like, and what the role of higher education and healthcare providers would be.

>>>How the new Commission for Tertiary Education and Research should approach mental health and wellbeing for students in higher education, and in the wider tertiary education sector


Recommendations for change

>>>Whether there are any recommendations that the Committee should make.



Evidence gathering

The Committee took oral evidence in September 2022. More information on individual evidence sessions can be found under the meetings tab at the top of the page.


At the start of September, a survey was launched aimed at students and recent graduates from Wales to submit their view. We received 254 responses; a summary of the responses has been published (PDF 1MB).


In the autumn term, we held focus groups to discuss in-depth the inquiry with students. As part of this engagement, we found out about current and recent students’ experiences of welfare support; the main challenges students face; the impact of mental health on their learning and higher education experiences; and what improvements they would like to see made. A summary of the discussions has been published (PDF 243KB).



The Committee launched a call for written evidence on 12 July 2022. The consultation closed on 07 November 2022. All responses have been published.



The theme of this survey is a sensitive topic. If you would like support we recommend you contact the following charities:

Childline: 0800 1111
Meic Cymru: 0808 80 23456
Mind Cymru: 0300 123 33 93 or
Hafal : 01792 816 600/832 400 or email
Beat Cymru: 0808 801 0433
Community Advice & Listening Line (CALL): 0800 13 27 37 or text 'help' to 81066
Samaritans: 116 123


Business type: Committee Inquiry

First published: 12/07/2022