Keisha Asare

VP Welfare & Equal Opportunities

Oxford SU secures University Mental Health TaskĀ Force

Oxford SU have secured a new Mental Health Task Force at the University of Oxford which will seek to deal with the ongoing student mental health crisis. 

The University’s Mental Health Task Force will be chaired by Sir Tim Hitchens, President of Wolfson College and will be made up of a range of University and College staff including the head of the Counselling Service as well as Oxford SU Sabbatical Officers Amelia Holt, VP Welfare and Equal Opportunities and Alex Foley, VP Women. The Taskforce will seek to evaluate current provision across the collegiate University and local NHS services and make steps to improve services and increase resources. 

Oxford SU are pleased that improvements to the University Counselling Service including more counsellors especially from under-represented backgrounds and reduced waiting times have been prioritised, the start of longer-term systemic change which Oxford SU continues to push for across student wellbeing services at the University. 

Our key priorities for the taskforce are: 

  • Targeted preventative support for students who are self-isolating, who are remaining in Oxford over the vacation period and who have been disproportionately affected by the pandemic. 

  • Oversee the mental health implications of any disciplinary measures enacted as a result of COVID-rule breaches 

  • Provide student leaders with up to date and accurate information on the current situation within colleges with regards to coronavirus. 

  • Broaden the support available to student welfare representatives 

We are in the middle of an immense student mental health crisis. Research by the mental health charity Mind has found 'that young people are more likely to have experienced poor mental health during lockdown than adults,’ with over ‘two thirds of young people (68%) have saying their mental health got worse during lockdown.’ (compared with 60% of adults). We’re really concerned about this for students?given that according to Student Minds pre-COVID, a third of students experience a mental health problem whilst at University.? 

Whilst the Mental Health Taskforce will focus on short term response, Oxford SU will continue to focus on securing long term change to improve mental health services across the collegiate University with an approach that prioritises prevention. 

Our priorities for this include: 

  • Implement and Expand the University’s 2019 wellbeing strategy. Ensure the strategy is realised and linked into the University Mental Health Charter.  

  •  Comprehensive wellbeing hub: a one-stop shop for all mental health information and services, with integrated website and phoneline services. 

  • Student wellbeing training: sessions for students to learn how to look after their own mental health such as through the 5 ways to wellbeing, with specific sessions on exam and work-related stress.  

  • Staff wellbeing training: mental health first aid training for frontline staff. 

We’re keen to hear your views on what should be included or what we should be pushing for. Come along to Student Council to shape our policy or hear what we’ve been up to or contact us directly, our details are at:  


Amelia Holt  | VP Welfare & Equal Opportunities
Lauren Bolz | VP Graduates
  Alex Foley | VP Women
Ben Farmer | VP Charities & Community