What is the Charter?
In 2018, former Universities Minister Sam Gyimah announced the development of a new University Mental Health Charter – an initiative led by Student Minds (supported by a grant from the Universities Partnership Programme Foundation) , and in partnership with the Office for Students , Department for Education , the National Union for Students , Universities UK , and AMOSSHE . The Charter will be a voluntary award, to recognise good practice in supporting and promoting mental health and wellbeing in students, as well as the wider University community (Charter FAQs can be viewed here).
How will the Charter research be conducted?
To develop the Charter, Student Minds have organised a road trip comprised of six events across the UK between March-April 2019. The roadshow aims to bring together students and University staff at all levels/areas (e.g., academics, professional staff etc.) to facilitate the co-production of the Charter. Each event consists of a number of focus groups, in addition to a keynote speaker.
I attended the event hosted by University Arts London on 27/03/19. The focus groups and activities were well organised, and delegates were presented with plenty of opportunity reflect, share their experiences (and those of their peers/colleagues), and connect with others. Student and staff were considered within discussions, to ensure that the Charter adopts a ‘whole University’ approach. Natasha Devon – writer and mental health activist- was the keynote speaker for the roadshow, and spoke candidly and passionately (with humour thrown in) about her work, and how this could be applied within a Higher Education context.
Results from the roadshows will be analysed, and disseminated within the wider academic/policy community (e.g., via conferences, journal articles etc.). Moreover, the Charter will be a living document – updated where relevant to ensure it is still current to the Higher Education landscape.
There is still opportunity to participate in the roadshows, with one date remaining:
To follow all tweets linked to the roadshow events and more, please see #UniMentalHealthCharter
Blog post written by Dr Rachel Moss (Twitter: @DrRMoss), Research Associate on the PGR Wellbeing project at the University of Portsmouth (School of Education and Sociology).