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Hartpury College signs Mental Health Charter

Hartpury College has signed the Association of Colleges (AoC) Mental Health Charter, highlighting its commitment to promoting mental health awareness and support among its student and staff population. Hartpury University is already a signatory of the Student Minds University Mental Health Charter, reflecting the importance placed by both institutions on mental health and wellbeing.

The AoC Mental Health Charter sets out key principles that colleges can adopt to improve mental health and wellbeing within their institutions. By signing this charter, Hartpury College demonstrates its dedication to implementing best practices in mental health support and providing valuable resources to its college community.

It was created by AoC in partnership with mental health leads and a group of college leaders that included Lesley Worsfold, Deputy Principal (Resources) at Hartpury University and Hartpury College, alongside senior mental health leads. It is an updated version of the original published five years ago.

The original 11 principles remain but are now embedded across four themes that make up the new Mental Health Charter framework, underpinned by good practice principles and standards. Each theme is clearly linked to the relevant Department for Education principles of a whole-college approach to mental health, and supplementary guidance on how to use the charter framework will be provided to colleges. The themes are:

  1. Leadership and ethos
  2. Support for students
  3. Workplace wellbeing
  4. Evidence and impact

“We’re pleased to sign the AoC Mental Health Charter,” says Lesley. “We believe it reflects our commitment to prioritising mental wellbeing and aligns with our core values of inclusivity and support for all members of our college community. The charter is a useful tool for colleges as the set of principles and themes provide a useful reference point when creating mental health and wellbeing initiatives and policies.”

Jen Hope, Senior Policy Lead (Mental Health) at Association of Colleges, said: “It’s been five years since we first launched the first Mental Health Charter. It set a great foundation to ensure mental health and wellbeing is a priority issue for leaders and governors in our colleges, and most colleges in England signed up.

“Our hope is that the charter will help colleges to reflect on their mental health policies and practice, and support them to embed a sustainable, whole-college approach to mental health and wellbeing.”

Both Hartpury University and Hartpury College offer a comprehensive package of support services to students. Hartpury College’s Student Services and Wellbeing Teams, located in the Student Zone, can help students with guidance and advice on everything from finance and accommodation to health and wellbeing.

Each year, both Hartpury University and Hartpury College, with the support of several local organisations, host a ‘WellFest’ event - a day dedicated to helping students to keep their minds and bodies well. WellFest sees around 3000 students take part in activities and educational workshops and provides a great way for students to see the wide range of support available to them both on and off campus. The event celebrated its tenth anniversary in 2023.