Hartpury University has been selected by the charity Student Minds as one of the first universities in the UK to help pilot its new University Mental Health Charter Award Scheme.
Driven by Student Minds – the UK’s student health charity – the University Mental Health Charter was created by hundreds of staff and students to shape a future in which everyone in higher education can thrive.
It provides a set of principles to support universities across the UK in making mental health a university-wide priority.
The Charter Award Scheme, being piloted in 2020, will support, recognise and reward universities that promote good mental health and demonstrate excellent practice, while appreciating the challenging local and global circumstances in which they are currently operating.
Student Minds will work with Hartpury and two other selected universities during the pilots to test its approach to understanding universities’ progress against the University Mental Health Charter.
The charity will explore how its methods can best support ongoing improvement and celebrate achievement, while adapting its approach and timeframe in response to the uncertain situation surrounding COVID-19, and celebrate achievement.
Lesley Worsfold, Vice-Principal – Resources at Hartpury University, said: “We’re honoured to have been chosen by Student Minds to pilot its University Mental Health Charter Award Scheme.
“Our Mental Health Strategy aims to create an informed community that recognises good mental health alongside good physical health and wellbeing, as an important requirement for successful learning and a positive student experience.
“Mental health, wellbeing and resilience are embedded within our strategic priorities, to facilitate a whole-institution approach that is supported by passionate senior leaders.
“The Mental Health and Resilience Steering Group constantly drives innovative ways of ensuring that all staff and students are engaged with this agenda.
“A member of the senior management team chairs this group, with a membership consisting of a wide range of staff, including college, university, professional services and our Students’ Union ensuring a holistic approach to mental health and wellbeing.”
The development and pilot of the University Mental Health Charter is supported by start-up funding of £100,000 from the UPP Foundation and £95,000 from the Office for Students, in partnership with leading higher education organisations.
Rosie Tressler OBE, CEO of Student Minds, said: “We are delighted that Hartpury University will be partnering with us to pilot the University Mental Health Charter Award Scheme.
“The university is clearly committed to a holistic view of university life, and to creating a culture in which learning, working and wellbeing are all mutually supportive.
“We look forward to working with Hartpury University to shape a Charter Award which supports universities to grow and recognises the significant challenges they have overcome.”
As well as Hartpury University, Glasgow Caledonian University and the University of Derby have been chosen to pilot the scheme.
Picture: Students and staff at Hartpury's 2019 Graduation Ceremony at Gloucester Cathedral (credit: Clint Randall)