Students Minds last week announced the development of a University Mental Health Charter. Backed by Universities Minister, Sam Gyimah MP, the Charter will be a voluntary award and quality improvement scheme, which will recognise universities with exceptional approaches to promote and support the mental health and wellbeing of students and the university community.
The Charter’s development will be led by Student Minds in partnership with the UPP Foundation, the Office for Students (OfS), National Union of Students (NUS) and Universities UK. A wider advisory group will be announced in Autumn 2018, which others in the sector will be invited to participate in.
Commenting on the announcement, Caroline Hounsell, Youth Lead and Director, Mental Health First Aid England, said, “In light of the ONS statistics published last week revealing an increase in student suicide rates, we welcome the development of the University Mental Health Charter. In placing a spotlight on best practice, this charter will help to drive positive change that ultimately supports the mental health of staff and students on an ongoing basis.”
“Our Higher Education course, developed in collaboration with Student Minds, is designed to skill people to spot the signs and symptoms of common mental health issues and guide others to the next level of support. This is helping to build supportive cultures around mental health in universities across the country.”
The development phase is supported by a £100,000 grant to Student Minds from the UPP Foundation and will follow an iterative process, shaped by co-production with students, staff and partner organisations. It’s anticipated that the charter will take an outcomes-focused, banded approach, setting out basic, advanced and aspirational goals. Training and expert support will also be provided to support the change and assessment process.
Richard Brabner, Director of the UPP Foundation, commented on the partnership, saying; “With support for student wellbeing and mental health initiatives a key part of our campaign to improve access and retention in Higher Education, we are investing £100,000 to enable Student Minds to lead the creation of the Charter – which we expect to transform the student experience, lead to cultural change across universities and ensure the issue remains high on the national political agenda.”
Find out more about the University Mental Health Charter at: www.studentminds.org.uk/Charter
Find out more about Higher Education MHFA here