The Hartpury community is a supportive, inclusive, well-informed, healthy and responsive environment that promotes positive mental health as well as providing robust support services for students and staff requiring help to address mental health issues. The safeguarding of all students is paramount and this approach is embedded into everything we do.
Our aims are:
- To ensure we are, at all times, strongly committed to safeguarding and promoting the welfare of all our students and that everyone at Hartpury has a responsibility to take reasonable measures to minimise the risks of harm to any individual.
- To create a Hartpury community which is informed about mental health and which encourages openness, recognising good mental health, alongside good physical health and wellbeing, as an important requirement for successful learning and a positive experience for students, as well as staff.
- To create an environment which supports positive mental health and the development of skills to value and recognise good mental health and awareness. As part of this, to encourage early disclosure and early engagement with support services. Our community will encourage the recognition of mental health as being as important as physical health.
- To provide a range of support services, clearly sign-posted and easy to access.
The following sections provide further information regarding our commitment to mental health and wellbeing.
The safeguarding of all students at Hartpury is of paramount importance to us. There are three designated/deputy safeguarding leads and a safeguarding committee that meets weekly to discuss student safety and specific cases. The designated safeguarding leads are responsible for supporting students, triaging referrals as well as staff and student training relating to safeguarding. Support is offered to students at risk of abuse, or who have been abused, or who are at risk to themselves or others. The safeguarding leads liaise with other team members and external agencies to safeguard at-risk students. MyConcern, our safeguarding software, gives all staff easy access to make a student referral. Our Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy gives further details about our Designated Safeguarding Team and how to contact them.
Prevent is the UK government’s strategy about safeguarding people and communities from the threat of all types of extremism and radicalisation, including terrorism. Our Child Protection & Safeguarding Policy gives further details about Prevent and our Prevent Lead.
Our Wellbeing Officers and Wellbeing & Enrichment Support Workers offer support to students via daily drop-ins and 1:1 appointments. They also provide emotional support, guidance and referrals to internal and external specialist support services for a wide range of concerns including, but not limited to, loneliness, homesickness, friendship issues, financial and housing difficulties, drug, alcohol and gambling dependency, anxiety and stress, and other mental health concerns. Wellbeing support is available to students during the day, most evenings and weekends.
Wellfest, our annual showcase event founded in 2015, is part of our fabric of support, promoting the wellbeing of our students encouraging them to stay safe, healthy and happy. Events include workshops around student safety, resilience, consent, healthy relationships, drug and alcohol use, as well as a strong focus on mental health. In a student survey, 91% of our students said that Wellfest had improved their understanding of personal safety, health and wellbeing. This has contributed to us being awarded Outstanding across all strands of the Ofsted Social Care Common Inspection Framework for our residential provision.
We employ BACP/UKCP registered and accredited counsellors. The counsellors provide therapeutic 1:1 support to students experiencing a wide range of emotional health and life challenging difficulties in a safe and welcoming environment. They offer short term counselling of six sessions, that can be extended, and are an integral part of our wider Wellbeing Department; they accept and make referrals across the wider multidisciplinary team. Counsellors receive regular external supervision to ensure they practice within their ethical framework.
The centre provides study skills and personal development workshops. The University Mental Health & Learning Support Advisors are part of this team, providing 1:1 support and group work and, where necessary, signposting students to the Wellbeing Department.
The Wellbeing Chaplain, as part of the wellbeing provision, is available to offer guidance and advice on any issues affecting students and staff. The Chaplain supports the Christian Union and other faiths on campus, and holds an annual remembrance and carol service for students and staff. The Chaplain also offers regular drop-in sessions and is a key presence around campus.
Overseeing onsite facilities and accommodation, our wardens operate on a round-the-clock basis, manning a 24/7 emergency and welfare care phone line and are trained to support safeguarding and mental health concerns, signposting to internal services.
Our students are able to visit the nurse if they feel unwell or are injured, need advice and guidance on any health-related issue or just want to arrange an appointment with the local GP. The nurses promote healthy living and lifestyles through health promotion initiatives, for example running smoking cessation clinics, weight and blood pressure checks. The nurses are also on hand to listen to students’ emotional needs, assess and refer accordingly.
The Mental Health Nurse provision is a fundamental part of our nursing team services. The nurse is able to quickly assess students in distress, risk assess and put plans and processes in place to safeguard students at risk. The Mental Health Nurse sees students throughout the academic year who may be struggling with severe anxiety, phobias, depression, self-harm, suicidal ideation and psychosis and has a close working relationship with external mental health services and crisis teams.
We were appointed to pilot the Student Minds University Mental Health Charter, which has been instrumental in self-reflecting on our practice, as well as providing recognition for the work we have undertaken with both staff and students in developing mental health and wellbeing initiatives. This charter provides a framework for us to work towards with the vision of institutions adopting a whole-university approach to mental health and becoming places that promote the mental health and wellbeing of all members of the organisation’s community. We have subsequently applied for charter accreditation.
Hartpury College was one of four finalists for the NOCN award as part of the AOC annual award in 2019/20. This award celebrates the important work colleges undertake to support the mental health and wellbeing of their students and staff. The rise in mental ill health, amongst young people in particular, is of great concern and attracted heightened attention nationally, with Covid-19 having a significant impact.