2021 - Student Minds Charter

GCU signs up to Student Minds' Mental Health Charter

Fri, 30 Jul 2021 09:59:00 BST

GCU is joining universities across the UK to support students' and staff mental health.

GCU is signing up to charity Student Minds' Mental Health Charter Award programme, which launches today (July 28).

GCU was one of just three UK universities selected by Student Minds in 2020 to trial the award, an accreditation scheme that recognises and benchmarks best practice in supporting mental health across the country's HE institutions.

Student Minds hopes the charter "will be an important tool to support cultural change in universities, improve wellbeing outcomes for students, staff and their communities and ensure mental health does not fall off the HE policy agenda".

GCU Principal and Vice-Chancellor Professor Pamela Gillies CBE FRSE said: ''Staff and student mental health and wellbeing is a core driver of university performance, and engagement in the pilot gave us an invaluable opportunity to assess our progress. We were keen to be challenged and receive feedback, which has enabled us to reflect on our practices and to promote enhancement and innovation. The pilot programme helped raise awareness and ownership of the issues and allowed us to share and learn from good practice to enhance our whole-university approach.

"Participation in the Charter led directly to a range of actions such as establishing a new clinical lead for our Counselling team to continue to enhance service quality. This expansion of our wellbeing service also allowed us to improve support for staff who were working remotely, so that they could better identify and support students in distress.''

Director of Student Life, Jackie Main, said: "Our participation in the pilot for the Student Minds Mental Health Charter in 20/21 has already resulted in a number of very positive enhancements to our approach to mental health and wellbeing. We are really looking forward to building on that as we take part in the formal charter programme and  hopefully to becoming one of the first universities to achieve the charter award."

GCU is one of 32 universities joining the scheme

Rosie Tressler OBE, CEO of Student Minds said: "Even before the pandemic, universities were facing increasing reports of poor student and staff mental health. The last year has highlighted even more the need for a renewed focus and investment in the mental health and wellbeing of our university communities. Now is the time for universities to come together as part of a collaborative effort to enact long-term, strategic change.

"We are inspired by the number of universities that have committed to coming together as part of the University Mental Health Charter programme to ensure improved and more equal mental health and wellbeing outcomes for the whole university community. Creating a higher standard of mental health support across the sector. Together, we can create a future in which everyone in higher education can thrive.''

Michelle Donelan, Universities Minister, said "I strongly support the University Mental Health Charter, which aims to drive up standards in promoting student and staff mental health and wellbeing on campuses across the country. I thank all those providers who have already signed up to the programme. I hope all universities will work towards the principles of good practice set out in the Charter as part of their whole university approach to mental health and that all universities will apply for the programme in the coming years.''