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Working with universities

We're excited to be partnered with Goldman Sachs Gives to deliver a two-year pilot programme: Mentally Healthy Universities. We are working with nine local Mind and university partnerships until August 2021 to improve both staff and student wellbeing. The programme aligns with the whole university approach set out in UUK's Stepchange: Mentally Healthy Universities and the University Mental Health Charter developed by Student Minds.

We are testing a range of interventions within each university and will share learning and guidance with the wider sector. As part of the programme, students have the opportunity to take part in sessions on wellbeing essentials, managing their mental health at university and transitioning into the workplace.

Staff will be supported to set up a network of Staff Mental Health Champions and Mental Health Peer Supporters. We are also working with each university as an employer to help them meet the Mental Health at Work Commitment.

We have already released our interim evaluation report detailing our findings from year one. You can find this below.

Ahead of our second year, we are adapting the programme so that students and staff can take part online. This will ensure we can continue delivery while adhering to any restrictions caused by COVID-19.

Our goals

Our programme has five goals:

Goal 1: Ensure students are equipped to manage their mental health and thrive at university.

Mind has created a new interactive workshop, Wellbeing Essentials for Students, to provide students with knowledge and skills to manage their mental health and wellbeing. Our aim is to help students take a proactive approach to looking after their mental health and to ensure they know where to find the right support if they need it.

During the 2 hour session our experienced Mind trainers work with a small group of around 10-15 students to explore what mental health is, 5 ways to wellbeing to support themselves, where to find support from within and outside university and how to have conversations about mental health. The session is designed to create a space for students to discuss and learn about mental health with their peers and break down stigma.

After the workshop students will be encouraged to access an online resource hub, where they can explore more information about mental health, wellbeing and support at their own pace.

Goal 2: Ensure students have the knowledge and tools to build resilience.

Managing mental health and wellbeing is a key part of thriving at university and we want students to have the knowledge and confidence to do this effectively.

Students at our pilot universities can sign up for our new short-course: Tools and Techniques to Manage Student Mental Health – a blended course of four weekly sessions and online learning, which will help them proactively manage their mental health during their studies.

The course has been adapted for students by the University of Leeds and is based on Mind’s robustly-evaluated resilience course, developed originally with the University of Oxford.

Online learning is designed to be a foundation for each topic. Weekly interactive sessions then allow students to practise what they have learnt with the support of a Mind trainer and build connections with their peers.

Week one - It matters what you focus on: attention training
Week two - Habits and dwelling: how to change them
Week three - Dealing with difficult emotions: keeping your balance
Week four - Transforming worries and improving performance

Goal 3: Ensure students are prepared to manage their mental health in future employment.

University has a big role to play in preparing students to thrive in the future. That’s why we’ve developed a workshop specifically designed to give students knowledge and confidence to stay mentally healthy when they move into work.

During this 2 hour session, students learn about how to look after their wellbeing and mental health at work, ways to manage their mental health as a new graduate, and their employers’ responsibilities.

Goal 4: Reduce stigma and improve peer support for university staff.

To achieve this goal we are developing networks of Staff Mental Health Champions and Staff Mental Health Peer Supporters across our pilot universities.

A Mental Health Champion is an employee who takes action to raise awareness of mental health problems amongst their colleagues and challenges mental health stigma.

Our local Mind delivery partners are training and supporting staff to take forward this important role. View the Staff Mental Health Champions information pack to find out more.

Local Minds are also providing training and support to staff who are interested in becoming Staff Mental Health Peer Supporters.

Mental Health Peer Supporters are staff with personal experience of poor mental health or a mental health problem, who provide support to their colleagues. View the Staff Mental Health Peer Supporters information pack for further information.

Goal 5: Make positive changes to the way universities think and act about mental health.

The Mental Health at Work Commitment is a simple framework that was launched in 2019 and is based on the Thriving at Work standards, pulling from the pledges and standards that are already out there, using up-to-date research from UK employers and mental health experts.

‘Thriving at Work’ was an independent review of mental health and employers commissioned by the UK government and led by Lord Dennis Stevenson and Paul Farmer, Mind’s Chief Executive.

Through our pilot programme Mind has been supporting our partner universities to meet the Mental Health at Work Commitment. Building on their insights and learning from the pilot, we have developed practical guidance about implementing these standards for the wider sector.

Below you can find the full guidance, as well as a short summary for senior leaders. You can also find a guide for each standard individually.

Download our Full Guide

Summary for Senior Leaders

Standard One: Prioritise mental health in the workplace by developing and delivering a systematic programme of activity

Standard Two: Proactively ensure work design and organisational culture drive positive mental health outcomes

Standard Three: Promote an open culture around mental health

Standard Four: Increase organisational confidence and capability

Standard Five: Provide mental health tools and support

Standard Six: Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting

Mental Health at Work Action Plan Template

Our current partners

Below are the local Mind and university partnerships taking part in our pilot:

  • Bath Mind – University of Bath
  • Brent, Wandsworth and Westminster Mind – London School of Economics
  • Bristol Mind – University of Bristol
  • Bromley, Lewisham and Greenwich Mind – University of Greenwich
  • Cambridge, Peterborough and South Lincolnshire Mind – University of Cambridge
  • Middlesbrough and Stockton Mind – Teesside University
  • Lancashire Mind – University of Central Lancashire
  • Leeds Mind – Leeds Beckett University
  • Sheffield Mind – University of Sheffield

Our year one findings

The findings from the first year of the programme were very positive. Students told us they had a better understanding of mental health, that they were more confident in looking after their mental health, and that they were more aware of mental health in the workplace. Meanwhile, university staff rated our courses highly and 9/10 would recommend them to a colleague.

View our full interim evaluation report

Support available for all students

Take a look at our student mental health hub, which has information on coping with student life, mental health support for specific groups, being a student during coronavirus and more.

We have also created animated videos which provide tips and techniques to improve your wellbeing. They focus on the following topics:

  • Five Ways to Look After Your Wellbeing

  • Tips for Managing Stress

  • Tips to Help with Loneliness

  • Ways to Improve your Self-Esteem

  • Tips for Better Sleep.

Watch our animated videos.

Get involved - opportunities for university staff and students

It's really important to us that everything we create is accurate, unbiased and reflects real life experiences of university staff and students.

Please note that unfortunately we do not have the capacity to accommodate volunteers or interns. We also do not offer university placements or work experience.

Our current opportunities include:

Sharing your story. This is an opportunity to share your lived experience of managing mental health as a student or staff member, to help strengthen our new training and resources. These will be anonymised when used in our content if you wish.

We hope to engage as diverse a range of people as possible and particularly welcome people from LGBTQIA+ and BAME communities and those who have a disability to tell their story.

For more information email [email protected].

Other ways to get involved

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