University and SAMH enter unique partnership

17 May 2013

Principal Professor Pamela Gillies and SAMH Director of HR, Judith Mackinnon

Principal Professor Pamela Gillies and SAMH Director of HR, Judith Mackinnon

Glasgow Caledonian University (GCU) and SAMH (Scottish Association for Mental Health), Scotland’s leading mental health charity, have entered a unique partnership that will raise awareness of mental health issues while providing students and staff with easier access to support services as well as volunteering and employment opportunities.

The agreement between the two bodies builds on a long-established relationship and enables GCU and SAMH to benefit from an exchange of expertise while ensuring that the mental health agenda is further embedded in staff and student wellbeing initiatives, training and teaching.

Vice Dean of the School of Health and Life Sciences, Vincent McKay, said: “The agreement with SAMH is a further example of creative partnerships that are of benefit to our students, staff and the community.

“It will allow us to build on existing relationships to provide students with a range of exciting and contemporary placement opportunities within the mental health arena. The collaboration will enable a sharing of expertise to further support and enhance the mental health strands of our curricula, which in turn will best prepare our graduates for practice and employment in this area.”

It is the first time SAMH has agreed such a partnership with a higher education institution. Both parties wanted to formally recognise a shared interest in the promotion of positive mental health at the University and beyond.

The endorsement by SAMH has meant that GCU was able to access professional advice from the organisation when drafting its health and wellbeing policy, further underlining the University’s ongoing commitment to providing support for students and staff.

Director of People at GCU, Alex Killick, said: “We already have a close working relationship with SAMH and the partnership strengthens our ties even further. We have a joint interest in improving the health of the population and having positive support for staff and students when they need it.”

Director of HR at SAMH, Judith Mackinnon, said, “We’re delighted to be further developing our partnership with Glasgow Caledonian University. Together we have a unique opportunity to raise awareness and challenge the stigma of mental health both within the University and with the wider public.  We are very much looking forward to working with GCU over the coming years.”

The agreement was formally signed by GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies and by SAMH Director of HR Judith Mackinnon.