Student Minds are excited to announce that an additional 9 universities have committed to improving the mental health of the whole-university community by joining the University Mental Health Charter Programme.
The following universities have joined the 32 universities that were announced in July this year:
These 9 universities will work together as part of a UK-wide practice sharing network to share practice and improve their approach to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff. As well as accessing a range of events and opportunities to support them to achieve cultural change at university, Programme members can also work towards the Charter Award, an accreditation scheme which recognises universities that demonstrate excellent practice.
The Charter Programme was developed in consultation with staff and students, with initial funding from the UPP Foundation and the Office for Students and further funding from Jisc and the Charlie Watkins Foundation.
Student Minds CEO, Rosie Tressler OBE, said: “Thank you to those institutions that have joined our growing community of universities committed to creating long-term, strategic change in mental health and wellbeing. The mental health of students and young people has been disproportionately impacted by the pandemic. Coming together to understand and implement the very best practice has never been more important if we are to reverse this trend. Together, we can create a future in which everyone in higher education can thrive."
17 Students’ unions join Student Minds SUs demonstrating their commitment to improving staff and student mental health
Student Minds are delighted to welcome the new 2021/22 cohort of the Student Minds SUs Programme, consisting of 17 Students’ Unions who are demonstrating commitment to improving support for staff and student mental health in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Student Minds SUs Programme has been co-created with 11 SU members since its launch in 2019. The Programme is centred around our Mentally Healthy SUs framework, which outlines how SUs can create a whole-union approach to mental health and wellbeing. It includes 10 good practice principles around campaigning for positive change, working with universities and local partners, co-producing approaches with students, creating environments for staff and sabbatical officers to thrive, and more. The Student Minds SUs Programme brings together Students’ Unions committed to becoming leaders in mental health, who are ready to challenge current ways of working and creating cultural change.
Students’ unions on the Programme form part of a UK-wide practice sharing network with access to events, additional training and support sessions and opportunities to come together to improve their approach to student and staff mental health.
Leigh Spanner, Interim Head of Engagement shared “Students’ Unions play an essential role in advocating for students and creating positive, welcoming and safe university communities. They were invaluable in supporting students during the Covid-19 pandemic. With the mental health of students and young people being disproportionately impacted over the past 18 months, it is vital that Students’ Unions continue to build on this great work, to learn from one another and to make mental health a priority right across higher education.”
We are excited to be working with the following 17 Students’ Unions to create cultural changes in their unions and on their campuses:
In August 2020, with funding from the Office for Students and Higher Education Funding Council for Wales, at Student Minds, we launched Student Space, a website designed to complement existing support services and to make it easier for students to find the support they need during the pandemic.
We know that the pandemic has had a big impact on student and university communities. In our latest research, we found that 74% of students reported that Covid-19 has had a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing. We also know that the mental health and wellbeing impacts of the pandemic will outlast the pandemic itself. That’s why we’re committed to ensuring that students across England and Wales continue to get the support they need.
We are pleased to share with students, the university community and our partners that the Office for Students and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales have agreed to extend their funding for Student Space up until the end of 2021 in the first instance. Colleagues across the sector can be assured that the platform will be available to support the transition into the 21/22 academic year and we continue to plan for the role this intervention plays in the long term.
Our support offer at Student Space is designed to be agile and responsive to the pandemic and students’ needs, so whilst the exact nature of the ongoing support package will continue to evolve in collaboration with our partners and funders, we strongly encourage stakeholders across higher education and mental health to continue signposting to and utilising Student Space, recognising the ongoing impact of the pandemic on student mental health and wellbeing, as well as the value of a sector-wide approach.
Colleagues in universities, students’ unions, schools, colleges, government, the NHS and beyond can all play a role in supporting recent, current and future university students and create HE communities that are positive environments for individuals to thrive.
As we all prepare for the next academic year, we are here to support you with our new dedicated area to help students as they prepare for university.