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The Scottish Funding Council (SFC) has today given Funding for Mental Health in colleges AY 2021-22. The money will allow colleges to develop mental health and resilience packages that fit their own specific needs.

The move is the latest in a series of Scottish Government investments made through SFC to support students and staff struggling to cope with the mental health impacts of COVID-19.

In 2020 SFC announced £1.32 million to colleges and universities for services such as online counselling. Recognising the negative effect of money worries on student mental health, last summer also saw over £11 million of discretionary funds being made available for additional financial support. Earlier this year, SFC also allocated over £750,000 to help student associations in their work to provide mental health services.

The latest funding will help to develop the role of Mental Health Co-ordinators in colleges. Other uses of the money could include more student-led services, such as the creation of a colleges’ mental health nightline and more wellbeing support for college staff.

Higher and Further Education Minister Jamie Hepburn said:

“We know that the move to blended learning and significant reduction in face to face learning over the last year has been especially challenging for our college students.

“Our funding of £4.4 million, supported by the guidance published today, builds on significant Scottish Government investment already made in this area and will enable colleges to develop mental health and resilience packages that are most appropriate to the needs of their communities. This includes the development of Mental Health Co-ordinators, Nightline and support for staff.”

James Dunphy, Director of Access, Learning and Outcomes at the Scottish Funding Council, said:

“Positive mental health is fundamental to students’ ability to progress and make the most of their education experience.

“We know the pandemic has had a significant impact on the mental and emotional health of many students, and so this funding is a further vital investment in positive student outcomes.”

Shona Struthers, Chief Executive of Colleges Scotland said:

“Since the start of the pandemic, colleges in Scotland have been working hard with Scottish Government to increase the funding for mental health support to benefit students and staff who have faced some really difficult circumstances. The funding is a substantial investment in mental health support which colleges can use locally to best suit the needs of their students and their workforce.”