Strengthening Mental Health Support in Universities - A Way Forward

  • Wednesday, 24 April 2024
  • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • 08:30 - 16:30
Expert Speakers
Sponsors & Supporters
  • Overview

Open Forum Events has a deep-rooted history in hosting nationwide conferences that shed light on the mental well-being of young individuals. We're excited to unveil the "Strengthening Mental Health Support in Universities - A Way Forward" conference, our seventh conference aimed at strengthening mental health support in the Higher Education sector.

Transitioning from school to university is a significant milestone for many young adults. This change, though exhilarating, can sometimes be overwhelming, posing challenges to their mental well-being. Factors like adjusting to a new environment away from home, academic pressures, forming new relationships, and managing finances can make them more susceptible to mental distress.

A 2022 student survey indicated:

  • 52% of the students reported a diagnosed mental health condition.
  • 32% felt their well-being deteriorated after joining the university.
  • Half considered quitting their courses.

With the alarming fact that 100 students take their own lives annually and almost one-third cite mental health as a primary reason for contemplating leaving university, the urgency for comprehensive mental health support is undeniable.

Our "Strengthening Mental Health Support in Universities - A Way Forward" conference aims to unify key figures in student welfare to:

  • Gauge the gravity of the issue,
  • Delve into its causes,
  • Pinpoint risks, and
  • Explore potential solutions.

The agenda includes insightful presentations from experts with first-hand and professional experiences, interactive sessions, open discussions, and informal networking opportunities.

  • Confirmed Speakers

Event Sponsors and Supporters

  • Event Programme


Registration and Coffee in the Networking Area


Chair's Opening Address


Keynote Address

""We’re gonna need a bigger (life)boat!"; Priorities for Student Mental Health in 2024"

This presentation will give a brief overview of where we are now, and how we got here. Setting the scene for the day ahead and the context in which we are working. Dominique will then outline her key priorities for student mental health, considering both the evidence we have and based on her personal experience of working with multiple universities and national organisations.

"Working with Partners to Improve Student Mental Health: A research-informed toolkit for service leads."

The Student Services Partnerships Evaluation and Quality Standards (SPEQS) toolkit aims to facilitate and evaluate partnerships between university and NHS mental health services. The toolkit was developed collaboratively with Student Minds, Universities UK, NHS England and five regional hubs in England. This presentation will explore the collaborative efforts involved in developing the SPEQS toolkit, as well as the toolkit's domains and how they can be used to facilitate service partnerships to enhance student mental health outcomes.

• Access the SPEQS toolkit
• Interview with HE Professional
• Podcast with SMaRteN



Speaker TBC, Papyrus (invited)

"Suicide Prevention"

Papyrus as a nationwide suicide prevention charity supporting young people under 35 and professionals. They have a helpline for young people living with thoughts of suicide, professionals and concerned loves ones and also delivering training to support professionals in supporting young people.


Headline Sponsor


Question & Answer Session

Allocated planned time for speakers to receive questions from the audience and induce further discussion.


Coffee in the Networking Area


Case Study Session

"What Does the Data Tell Us About Student Mental Health?"

In this presentation, Michael Sanders will discuss the challenges in student mental health, looking at data from a large scale survey conducted annually for more than a decade, the student academic experiences survey, which shows trends in mental health challenges, and who is particularly struggling.

"Supporting Male Student Mental Health in Higher Education"

Men are less likely to disclose mental health conditions to their universities or reach out for support compared to their female counterparts. Male students make up 69% of university suicides as a possible consequence of not seeking help.


Case Study Session


Question & Answer Session


Lunch in the Networking Area

A hot, two-course lunch consisting of multiple options will be provided for delegates. We cater for all dietary requirements, including vegetarian, vegan and gluten/dairy-free; just notify us ahead of time should you have any allergens or requirements.


Chair's Afternoon Address


Case Study Session

"Sleep and Self-Harm: Understanding the Mechanisms so we can Break the Cycle"

Self-harm amongst adolescence is a major public health concern with a prevalence that has increased compared to previous years. Self-harm typically begins during adolescence, marking this as a critical period of vulnerability and heightens the need for effective preventative measures. It is well known that sleep is associated with multiple mental health problems, including low mood, anxiety, ADHD, and self-harm. Globally, as adolescents age, they obtain shorter sleep durations, and their sleep patterns worsen. This can be attributed to biological delays in their sleep-wake cycles as well as environmental factors, such as early school start times, forcing adolescents to rise prior to their natural wake-up time. Specific sleep variables have been associated with self-harm cross-sectionally, and some recent evidence has highlighted sleep as a key risk factor for later self-harm. Understanding the role of sleep in the development and maintenance of self-harm can benefit the development of transdiagnostic preventative interventions.

  • Tatjana Damjanovic, Research Officer, Centre for Transforming Access and Student Outcomes in Higher Education (TASO) (confirmed)
"Evidence and Evaluation: How to Improve Support for Student Mental Health"

The Student Mental Health Evidence Hub is a new, free resource to help higher education providers use evidence to develop their mental health interventions. The presentation will demonstrate how the Evidence Hub can guide evidence-informed practice and build evaluation capacity of student mental health interventions.
It will give an overview of the key elements of the Evidence Hub: the evidence-based toolkit, evaluation guidance and examples of current practice.



Question and Answer Session

Allocated planned time for speakers to receive questions from the audience and induce further discussion.


Afternoon Refreshment Break


Speaker TBC


Closing Keynote Address


Question and Answer Session


Chair’s Closing Remarks and Event Close

  • Register for event

Having difficulty paying through Eventbrite? If you would like assistance registering your place please contact me on 0161 376 9007 and i'll be happy to assist. If you are awaiting funding you can request us to hold your place today to ensure you do not miss out.

Discounts for 3 or more delegates are available.

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Luke Boulter
! ***NHS CUSTOMERS*** Please note that we are finding the ticket information is not being displayed across some organisations. If this is the case please get in touch on 0161 376 9007 and we can provide you the details, alternatively if you are using internet explorer to access this information please try an alternative browser e.g. Google Chrome where you might have more success.
  • Acquire 8 CPD points
  • Receive an update on the current situation and prevalence of poor mental health within the student population
  • Learn more about what the government is doing to mitigate the surge in student mental health cases
  • Discover how student support services are better created through co production
  • Gain an understanding of how working in partnership is narrowing the gap between student services and the NHS
  • Hear how anxiety impacts on a young person’s wellbeing
  • Comprehend the challenges faced by the BAME student community
  • Recognise how to deal with students with personality disorders
  • Gather greater insight as to the dangers of self-harming
  • Be made aware of innovative practice
  • Engage in sharing best practice
  • Benefit from the opportunity to question, discuss and debate with speakers and fellow professionals
  • Take advantage of knowledge sharing and professional networking
  • Contact Details
  • Sponsors
  • Supporters
  • Venue
  • Featured Events
  • Downloads
  • Who will attend

Contact Details




Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre

Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre is the ideal solution when searching for conference venues in Manchester. Top-of-the-range conference suites, 3 star value hotel accommodation, delicious dining and friendly service are the ideal components for a successful conference or event in the heart of the city centre.

The 18 conference rooms are decked out with all the mod cons including state-of-the-art AV technology, projectors and screens, free Wi-Fi and flip charts. Our clients cover the whole spectrum and include government organisations, trade unions, large corporate companies, non-profit organisations, health and education sectors and small to medium-sized businesses.

From the get-go we strive for excellence in everything we do and our dedicated team of conference professionals go all out to make sure your conference, event or exhibition runs like clockwork.

Featured Events

  • Student Mental Health- Prevention and Intervention

    • 20 April 2023
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • The Royal National Hotel, London
  • Supporting Student Mental Health-Improving Outcomes and Achievements

    • 10 October 2023
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Student Mental Health: Identify-Respond-Support

    • 09 November 2022
    • 08:30 - 16:30
    • Pendulum Hotel & Manchester Conference Centre
  • Student Mental Health: Responding to the Crisis

    • 17 November 2021
    • 08:30 - 16:45
    • The Royal National Hotel, London
  • Safeguarding Students: Addressing Mental Health Needs

    • 26 November 2019
    • 08:30 - 16:25
    • The Bridgewater Hall, Manchester
  • Improving Student Mental Health Outcomes

    • 16 May 2019
    • 10:00 - 16:05
    • Mary Ward House Conference & Exhibition Centre, London

Downloads & Resources

  • Open Forum Events Sponsorship Brochure
    Open Forum Events offer a number of partnership, sponsorship and exhibition opportunities that can meet your marketing and business development needs.

who will attend

  • Associate Heads of Student Experience
  • ASYE Coordinators
  • Audit and Assurance Consultants
  • Casework Managers
  • Clinical Placement Facilitators
  • Community Fundraising Officers
  • Counsellors
  • Deans
  • Directors of Graduate Taught Programmes
  • Directors of Graduate Taught Programmes
  • Directors of Undergraduate Programmes
  • Directors of Undergraduate Programmes
  • GPs
  • Head of Study Guidance Services
  • Heads of Faculty
  • Heads of Inclusive Student Support Services
  • Heads of Products and Partnerships
  • Heads of Programme Support
  • Heads of Student Services
  • Heads of Student Support
  • Head's of Student Wellbeing and Welfare
  • Learning Support Lecturer's
  • Mental Health Advisor's
  • Mental health and well-being coordinator's
  • Mental Health Mentor's
  • Mental Health Support Worker's
  • Mental Wellbeing Services Manager's
  • Placement coordinator's
  • Practice Placement Development worker's
  • Quality Improvement Manager's
  • Senior Patient Educator Tutor's
  • Senior Practice Development Sister's
  • Staff Nurse's
  • Student Support Officer's
  • Student Welfare Officer's
  • Studentship Alliance Manager's
  • Studentship Officer's
  • Support & Compliance Manager's
  • Transformation Support Coach's
  • UG Student Support Administrator's
  • Vice Dean's (Education)