At Student Minds, we are delighted to celebrate the second wave of institutions who put themselves forward for the University Mental Health Charter Award assessments. Pursuing the Award is a statement of a university's commitment to improvement and development of better practice in university mental health.
In Autumn 2019, we published the University Mental Health Charter (UMHC) after a year of development alongside thousands of students and members of staff across the country. With a focus on a whole university approach, the Charter sets out a number of principles of good practice to help universities to prioritise the mental health and wellbeing of their communities.
Then in 2020, we launched the University Mental Health Charter Programme, a place for university members to come together, share good practice and receive guidance in applying for the Award. Institutions are able to apply for the Award assessment process at any stage while a member of the programme. To date the majority of universities on the programme are still to start their assessment process. With over 60 Universities commiting to creating cultural change in this year’s programme, we are excited that a number of these universities have been through the Award process and we are able to announce the first group of universities to achieve Award status.
Applications for the Award are assessed by a team of peer assessors with expertise and extensive experience of working and studying in the sector. Each Assessment Team contains qualified clinicians, higher education academics, professionals, and students. The UMHC award assessment is a robust process of evaluation aimed at:
Following the assessment, every university is provided with a detailed report highlighting good and excellent practice and recommending further actions each university can take to continue to improve their whole university approach.
Gaining a Charter Award is a recognition of the journey universities have travelled so far, in developing their approach to mental health and wellbeing.
We are pleased to announce that the following universities have received the Award this time round:
Explore the University Mental Health Charter website to see which other universities have achieved the Award.
These awards are a demonstration of genuine commitment, hard work and investment on the part of these universities and the staff and students who have worked together to reach this milestone. They can be rightly proud of their achievements to date.
It is important to note that achieving an Award is a symbol of progress, it does not mean that those receiving an Award are perfect, or that every student or member of staff will have good experiences within that institution yet. Those receiving their Award today, are doing so because they have made an ongoing commitment to continual improvement and have been able to demonstrate significant and genuine progress towards a whole university approach, in line with the Charter Framework. To maintain their Awards or to achieve a higher level award, all of these institutions will have to continue to build on this progress. There is work still to be done.
There is also still work to be done across the sector. There are two higher levels of Award (merit and distinction), which no university has yet achieved. We look forward to the day when we announce the first universities to gain these levels of award.
Congratulations to these institutions. We are proud of everything they have achieved and the hard work they will do to create change and improve the mental health and wellbeing of their student and staff communities.
Thank you to everyone who made the assessment process possible. The Charter Programme is gradually ensuring we are all speaking the same shared language on mental health as a sector and building a shared vision for the future.
Want to join the University Mental Health Charter Programme? Find out more on our website.
We are delighted to announce that we have received a grant of £8,000 from the Charlie Watkins Foundation to support the ongoing development of Student Space.
Student Space, originally launched in August 2020, was developed to support students through the Coronavirus pandemic. Thanks to a further three years of funding from the Office for Students and Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, we have been able to continue the site and adapt it to support students through the uncertainty of university life with written advice and information, direct support and student stories.
The Charlie Watkins Foundation was founded in memory of Charlie who was only 22 when he took his life in March 2017. Sadly, Charlie never recovered from the tragic loss of his mother when he was only nine years old. Charlie is one of many young people who have suffered from mental health challenges, and the Charlie Watkins Foundation, which is managed by Essex Community Foundation, aims to raise funds for partners of the Foundation to better support young people who struggle with their mental health and well-being
Tim Watkins, founder of the Charlie Watkins Foundation said: “The Charlie Watkins Foundation is delighted to be supporting Student Minds in this initiative. The development of the Student Space University directory will provide vital support for students whilst continuing our work in "SMASHING THE SIGMA” surrounding mental health issues suffered by many young people today.”
Developed in collaboration with students, service providers and higher education professionals, Student Space currently comprises several support elements including advice and information, student stories and direct support services. The funding provided by Charlie Watkins Foundation will be used towards further developing our university support search tool, allowing us to expand the service even further to include more institutions from across the UK, in particular institutions in Northern Ireland and Scotland,.
Rosie Tressler, CEO at Student Minds said: “Through Student Space we have reached over 440,000 people to date, providing support for students in need. We welcome the support from the Charlie Watkins Foundation, alongside our other funding partners, to help us continue to ensure that no student is held back by their mental health. It’s clear that despite the end of the pandemic, students are continuing to struggle, with current worries around money, loneliness and exam stress. Together we can ensure that Student Space continues to make support for students even more accessible to those in need”
To date over 75,000 students have accessed our search tool, so we are excited to be able to offer support to even more students who need it. Want to know what support is available at your university? Use our Student Space search tool to find out now.
We will be updating the directory over the next few months so if your university’s information is not currently available, please direct them to firstname.lastname@example.org and we can support them in adding the information required.
Do you need or know of someone in need of support? Student Space is here to help you through the challenges of university life.