We are thrilled to share with our supporters that Professor Sue Rigby, Vice-Chancellor at Bath Spa University has been appointed as chair of our trustee board. Sue has been on the board since last September, and the Student Minds team and the trustee board would like to extend a warm welcome as she starts her term as chair. We are excited to have Sue lead the board and provide accountability, oversight and robust governance to help us achieve our goals to improve university mental health.
We would also like to take the opportunity to thank Dr Nicola Byrom for her amazing work leading the board. We have had the privilege of working with Nicola for many years as Student Minds’ founder and chair of the board. During this time we’ve grown, re-located, developed and achieved so much, which you can read all about in our latest impact report. We are all delighted that Nicola will remain on the board.
Student Minds’ trustee board plays a vital role in enabling us to achieve the charity's objectives. Our board is made up of a mixture of experts from across the charity, higher education, business, law, fundraising and health care sectors with a diverse range of experience. We are also very excited to welcome two new student trustees to the board, Amelia Ireland and Aneeska Sohal. It is essential for Student Minds to have student voice at the core of everything we do. Amelia and Aneeska will share her experiences and expertise as a student to help drive the board and the charity forward.
About her new appointment as Chair, Professor Sue Rigby, Vice-Chancellor at Bath Spa University said:
“I'm delighted to be stepping into the position of Chair of the Trustee Board for Student Minds. This is such an important charity that offers vital support to students and their universities. The journey through university is a life changing one and it is essential that students have the support they need to achieve their potential. I am thrilled to be able to help Student Minds to grow and thrive. It is a remarkable testimony to the thoughtfulness and determination of Nicola Byrom and Rosie Tressler. I look forward to working with the board to help Rosie as she steers the charity through the pandemic and beyond.”
About Sue’s appointment, Dr Nicola Byrom, Founder and Senior Lecturer in Psychology shared:
“I started working on the idea of Student Minds 11 years ago. It has been a privilege to see the charity grow and develop. This success is thanks to the many phenomenal people who have devoted time and energy towards the ambition of supporting better student mental health. Sue is one of these people. Working with her over the past few years has been an inspiration. She has the skills and experience to ensure the charity builds strong foundations to continue supporting students for decades to come.”
We’d also like to take this opportunity to thank Ann Henshaw and Elisabeth Gulliver for their wide ranging contributions to Student Minds as they leave the board. Elisabeth started working for the charity in 2011 as the first ever employee, before joining the board in 2015 and supporting a range of work including a focus on volunteer wellbeing and peer support. During her 4 years with us Ann has worked hard to support us to shape our charities values, recruit new trustees and enable an organisational pay review. We wish Ann and Elisabeth all the best.
To find out more about the members of our trustee board visit: www.studentminds.org.uk/trustees
You can also find out more about our growing staff team and our Clinical Advisory Group and Student Advisory Committee.
Today marks one year since the publication of the University Mental Health Charter. Created by thousands of staff and students, in partnership with leading higher education organisations, the Charter provides a set of evidence-informed principles to support universities across the UK in making mental health and wellbeing a university-wide priority.
It is safe to say 2020 hasn’t been the year anyone expected. Despite the ongoing challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic, we are greatly encouraged by the commitment our university communities have demonstrated to advancing their work around mental health and wellbeing over the past year. We have seen universities investing in enhanced support for their staff and students and there are some incredible examples of the Charter beginning to inform interventions and university-wide mental health strategies.
We wanted to celebrate this work by providing a space for university and SU staff and students to share their achievements from the past year and their reflections on the future of university mental health.
Share how you have used the University Mental Health Charter this year on our virtual wall.
At Student Minds, we used the Charter to inform our guidance, Planning for a Sustainable Future, which sets out how universities can continue to take a whole-university approach to mental health during the pandemic.
We have also been developing the University Mental Health Charter Award, which aims to ensure the Charter leads to real cultural change by recognising universities that promote mental health and demonstrate excellent practice. Although we had to adapt our timescales and approach to developing the Award in response to the pandemic, we successfully completed three pilots in November. We are incredibly grateful to staff and students at our pilots sites; University of Derby, Glasgow Caledonian University and Hartpury University. They have helped to shape an Award that we are confident will support ongoing improvement across the higher education sector at a time when university mental health has never been more important.
We are also grateful to the UPP Foundation and the Office for Students who have continued to fund this work.
We plan to open the Award for applications in 2021 and will work with the sector to do so at a time and in a way which is supportive to university communities, recognising the ongoing uncertainty posed by the Covid-19 pandemic. We are excited to share further updates on our plans in the new year, sign up to the Charter newsletter to stay updated.
Thank you again to colleagues across the sector for your dedication to supporting students in an unprecedented year and we hope you have a restful winter break.
Student Space is here for students throughout the holidays. Explore our Christmas break resources and students in England and Wales can access direct support 24/7 via our support services.