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.