This month UWE launched its Mental Wealth First Initiative, setting out its strategic response to a whole university approach to mental health and wellbeing, in response to the StepChange framework. We have been working with UWE, York and Cardiff to support students to input into their strategy development. Student Minds Policy Manager, Rachel Piper, spoke at the launch event. In this post we share some of her key messages and a recording of her speech.
We believe that those with lived experience of mental health difficulties - the ones receiving, seeking or in need of support - are experts by experience, and therefore should be active participants and partners in shaping a whole university approach to mental health and wellbeing at their institutions.
At Student Minds, we are excited to be empowering a movement of students to advocate for change towards positive mental health and wellbeing at their universities. We have enjoyed supporting the development of UWE’s Mental Wealth First initiative to involve students in codesign and co-production. The HEFCE funded programme has also supported us to work with Cardiff and York, and Universities UK to look at the best ways for effective collaboration between students and universities.
From this we are learning about what works, and we will be sharing this with the sector. The activities require careful training and support to ensure this is a positive and empowering experience for those taking part and set within the wider national context about student wellbeing.
Universities must foster genuinely supportive environments which empower those with lived experience to contribute to choices around service and provision delivery, and input into health strategies at the university. This should not be about putting the onus of campaigning for adequate support on those that are experiencing mental health difficulties, but rather, providing ample and clear opportunity for all students to contribute.
Our full report about co-producing with students on strategy is launching later this year.