Leeds Beckett University joins new Mental Health Charter Programme
It is among 32 universities across the UK that have joined the new Student Minds University Mental Health Charter Programme.
Led by Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity, it aims to bring together institutions committed to making mental health and wellbeing a university-wide priority.
Pre pandemic, the prevalence and complexity of mental health difficulties in students was already on the rise, with the number declaring a pre–existing mental illness more than doubling since 2014/15.
Now, 58% of students say their mental health is worse than when the pandemic started with university staff reporting increasing numbers of students experiencing suicidal ideation, self–harm and episodes of psychosis.
Universities on the Charter Programme form part of a UK-wide practice sharing network with access to events and opportunities to help improve their approach to student and staff mental health and create cultural change.
Programme members can also work towards the Charter Award, an accreditation scheme which recognises universities that demonstrate excellent practice.
By joining the Charter Programme, universities have committed to working towards a set of evidence-informed principles and prioritizing good mental health for all staff and students. This includes providing adequately resourced and effective support services, as well as creating an environment and culture that reduces poor mental health.
Leeds Beckett University’s Vice-Chancellor, Professor Peter Slee said: “At Leeds Beckett, we recognise the importance of supporting good mental health in students and colleagues and are committed to developing a whole community approach to wellbeing.
“We will contribute to the development of communities and environments, across the HE sector, in which all of our students and colleagues can thrive.”
The Charter Programme was developed in consultation with staff and students, with initial funding from the UPP Foundation and the Office for Students and further funding from Jisc and the Charlie Watkins Foundation.
Rosie Tressler OBE, CEO of Student Minds said: “Now is the time for the universities to come together as part of a collaborative effort to enact long-term, strategic change. Together, we can create a future in which everyone in higher education can thrive."
During the pandemic, students and young people were more likely than the general population to feel anxious and worried, unable to cope and experience self-harm.
Staff, too, have reported increased workload and burn out in responding to the pandemic. This is why supporting our university communities’ mental health has never been more important.