London care pathway - service data
With the number of students declaring a mental health difficulty to their university increasing, student services are struggling to meet the demand. Universities UK, the Office for Students, and Student Minds have acknowledged that the needs of students will only be met through better partnership working with the NHS. However, estimates from London Clinical Commissioning Groups suggest that up to 40% of students entering mental health care do so in crisis, suggesting current care pathways are not functioning well for this population.
The London context presents particular challenges for delivering effective care. Students may live anywhere in London; they may be registered with a GP near their home or university, making them eligible for primary and secondary mental health care in different areas. London universities are also some of the most diverse, with proportionally higher numbers of international students and students from black and minority ethnic groups. Healthcare inequalities for people from ethnic minority backgrounds are well known, and challenges may be present for international students navigating a different healthcare system to their home country. It is likely that problems accessing appropriate care are not borne equally across the student population in London, but this question has not yet been investigated.
To study whether access to mental health care differs among groups of students in London, this project will analyse routine data collected from participating NHS mental health services and GP practices. This aims to provide information from a systems-level on the patterns of inequality that may be present for various groups of students, and will be complementary to other projects underway such as the Journeys through Care study [link to Journeys through Care here].