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Trust and six partner organisations to support student mental health with new peer to peer mentoring service

The Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, alongside six partners with Independent Higher Education (IHE), has been awarded Office for Students funding to deliver mental health support for students through the Many Hands Project. The project will support the mental health of smaller or specialist providers, allowing students from multiple institutions across the UK to easily access a peer-to-peer mental health mentoring service. The project, which has been awarded £153,900 with matched in-kind funding from each of the seven partners, will focus on mature students, Minority Ethnic students and students studying creative subjects. 

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The project will be led by IHE member the Academy of Contemporary Music (ACM), in collaboration with the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, SAE Education, Futureworks, Point Blank Music School, Matrix College of Counselling and Psychotherapy, and Regent College London, with specialist and technical expertise provided by The Ambassador Platform (TAP) and Applied Inspiration’s SEER (Specialist Evidence, Evaluation and Research) service.

Peer-to-peer mentoring is a proven, effective intervention, offering students in difficulty a mentor who has faced similar challenges and experiences. This project will offer a discreet and remote way to intervene early to support student mental health. The collaborative approach will address the barriers to developing and accessing these services in smaller providers.  

Kainne Clements, the Executive Chairman of ACM, said:

“We are delighted to be leading the Many Hands Project, working with an innovative group of small and specialist providers. The last 18 months has clearly illustrated how important it is to support student mental health and ACM are relishing the opportunity to further enhance our award-winning student services provision through this project.”

Alex Proudfoot, Chief Executive of IHE, said:

“This is a milestone for independent providers as they win a highly prized OfS funding bid for the first time. We are excited to see the results of this innovative project which will harness the agility, drive and commitment to students that are common to independent providers, as well as provide an important case study for future collaboration between our members.”

Sophie McCarthy, Student representative on the IHE Board said:

“Ensuring there’s active student engagement in developing mental health initiatives is hugely important to me. I’m delighted to be leading the student advisory group to this project whilst reporting to the IHE Board on its progress. Showing the real impact The Many Hands Project has on students at these providers to the board and to IHE members is a real privilege.”

Brian Rock, Dean of Postgraduate Studies at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust, said:

“We very much look forward to working with our partners to deliver this much-needed service to support students struggling with their mental health. We know that peer to peer mentoring is a proven, effective intervention. We’d also like to thank Independent Higher Education and the Office for Students for providing funds to help us deliver this essential service.”

For more information on this project please contact IHE at info@independenthe.com

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