Statistics of number of parents / nominated persons contacted by university regarding student mental wellbeing.

Gillian Green made this Freedom of Information request to Goldsmiths, University of London

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Dear Goldsmiths, University of London,
Following a spate of sudden student deaths in 2018, an ‘opt-in scheme’ was pioneered by the University of Bristol as part of a set of measures aimed at preventing suicide. In 2019, a coroner wrote to the Department for Education and Minister for Suicide Prevention suggesting that these measures might be shared throughout the sector. I am now seeking to establish the extent to which ‘opt-in’ has been subsequently adopted and/or utilised.
The ‘opt-in’ or ‘consent at registration’ scheme implemented by Bristol University comprises an additional personal information sharing agreement that supplements when information might be shared. It gains consent at annual registration for the university to contact a ’safe and nominated’ parent, guardian or friend in situations that are not emergencies, but where staff have serious concerns that something bad might happen to an enrolled student, and/or where their health, wellbeing or welfare could be affected. Essentially it involves lowering the bar at which parents or nominated others could be contacted by a designated professional at the university, from ‘vital interests’ to ‘serious or significant concerns’. It could for example apply in cases of trauma or distress associated with suspension / expulsion / non-attendance / mental health issues etc.
To qualify as ‘opt-in’ a scheme must be optional and additional to the regular emergency contact protocol. The latter is compulsory and typically restricted to serious incidents and/or emergency situations, that may present an imminent threat to a student’s vital interests. Further particulars can be found at:
http://www.bristol.ac.uk/contacting-peop...
https://thetab.com/uk/2018/09/20/these-a...
https://thetab.com/uk/bristol/2019/10/31...
This important scheme has been implemented at a number of universities, and perhaps at your institution as well. If so, please provide me with the following information as absolute numbers and percentages.
For each academic period (2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21) and year-of-study (e.g. 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year) sub-division:
• How many students opted-in at registration?
• How many students subsequently rescinded their consent?
• How many times was the opt-in consent used to contact somebody?
• How many times was use of the opt-in consent considered, but with you deliberately choosing not to contact a parent or nominated individual?

Yours faithfully,

Gillian Green

Goldsmiths Information Access, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dear Gillian Green,

We are writing to formally acknowledge your Freedom of Information (FOI) request, which has been logged as FOI - 2171

You will appreciate that all information requests place some degree of demand on a public authority's resources in terms of costs and staff time and that Goldsmiths may need to prioritise resources to other areas, or adapt its usual approach to information governance work, in order to meet the unprecedented challenges we are all facing during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Therefore, we need to advise you that are likely to experience delays in receiving responses to information rights requests during the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic.

Yours sincerely,

Information Governance
Goldsmiths, University of London
New Cross,
London, SE14 6AF

Email: [email address]

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Goldsmiths Information Access, Goldsmiths, University of London

Dear Gillian Green,

 

I am writing in response to your freedom of information request, reference
2171.

 

You requested information regarding the application of the ‘opt-in’ or
‘consent at registration’ scheme implemented by Bristol University at
Goldsmiths.

 

You asked for each academic period (2018-19, 2019-20 and 2020-21) and
year-of-study (e.g. 1st year, 2nd year, 3rd year) sub-division:

•How many students opted-in at registration?

•How many students subsequently rescinded their consent?

•How many times was the opt-in consent used to contact somebody?

•How many times was use of the opt-in consent considered, but with you
deliberately choosing not to contact a parent or nominated individual?

 

Our response:

 

In this instance we are unable to provide you with the information you
have requested because the University has not implemented the “Opt In”
scheme to which your request refers.

We do of course recognise however that there are many issues that may
affect students’ wellbeing. Goldsmiths’ student support is available 7
days a week via email, phone, Teams or instant messenger. Since September
2020 our Wellbeing team have carried out almost 1000 virtual appointments
with students, responded to over 2500 email requests for support and made
over 100 check-in calls to students in private sector accommodation who
had to self-isolate.

 

In 2020 Goldsmiths’ Counselling team delivered 603 counselling sessions.
In addition to our specialist counsellors we now have 40 trained Mental
Health First Aiders across College and have introduced a wellbeing
mentoring scheme for all students.

 

Further information on our partners and the support provided by the
College is available at:
[1]https://www.gold.ac.uk/students/wellbein....

 

I hope this response satisfies your Freedom of Information request.
However, if you are dissatisfied with this response, you may ask for it to
be reviewed by either contacting us by email: [2][email address] or by
writing to:

 

Data Protection Officer

Goldsmiths, University of London

New Cross,

London, SE14 6AF

 

Please describe the original request, explain your grounds for
dissatisfaction, and include an address for correspondence.

If you are still not satisfied following the internal review, you have a
right to appeal to the Information Commissioner who can be contacted at
the following address.

 

Information Commissioner's Office

Wycliffe House

Water Lane

Wilmslow

Cheshire

SK9 5AF

Telephone: 01625 545 700

[3]www.ico.gov.uk

 

Yours sincerely,

Information Governance

Goldsmiths, University of London

New Cross,

London, SE14 6AF

 

Email: [4][email address]

 

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