Mental health charity Student Minds published The University Mental Health Charter, detailing how universities can improve staff and student mental health.
Co-created from staff and students from more than 200 higher education organisations across the UK, The University Mental Health Charter provides a set of principles and outlines good practice. These challenge universities to go beyond baseline requirements and make mental health a university-wide priority.
The #UniMentalHealthCharter will be released on the 9th of December! Outlining steps unis can take to effectively respond to increasing mental health challenges. Together we can improve the lives of over 2.5 million staff & students https://t.co/yXFVwWrglt #WorldMentalHealthDay pic.twitter.com/xXnElpRFkG
— Student Minds (@StudentMindsOrg) October 10, 2019
Rosie Tressler OBE is the CEO of Student Minds, she says: “The University Mental Health Charter is a product of many dedicated individuals across the higher education sector coming together with the aim of transforming the lives of over 2.5 million staff and students across the UK.”
Data shows that over 70% of universities do not currently have a strategy for mental health, yet many report a more than 25% increase in demand for counselling services over the last five years.
Similarly to students, staff referrals for counselling rose by 77% between 2009 and 2015.
“Although there is still a lot of work to be done, the Charter is a key tool for universities to improve how they respond to mental health challenges and promote wellbeing across every aspect of university life,” explains Rosie.
The new charter encourages universities to provide high-quality mental health services and be proactive in promoting good mental health. The principles and practices outlined will ensure the needs of all staff and students, including BAME, LGBTQ+, and widening participation population groups, are met.
'Lead change now' 🗣️
— Student Minds (@StudentMindsOrg) December 2, 2019
“Co-creating the Charter with students, staff and higher education organisations has given me every confidence that, together, we can shape a future in which every member of the university community can thrive and that the higher education sector can be an exemplar to others,” stresses Rosie.
It will form the basis of the upcoming Charter Award Scheme, which will be developed in 2020, which will recognise and reward universities that promote good mental health and demonstrate good practice.
Supported by a £100,000 grant from the UPP Foundation and a £50,000 grant from the Office for Students, it has been developed in partnership with organisations and other key bodies within the sector. The National Union of Students (NUS), Universities UK and AMOSSHE have been involved along with the Department for Education.
Read The University Mental Health Charter here now.