Dear Charter Members,
As you know, in 2019, Student Minds launched the University Mental Health Charter (UMHC) with the plan to support all degree-awarding institutions to participate over several years. Since the launch of this Programme, it has been extremely encouraging to see so many universities committed to promoting the mental health and wellbeing of all members of the university community, to sharing best practice, and creating cultural change.
Earlier this year the Department for Education publicised their ongoing support for the approach, and it was communicated to all universities to sign up for the Programme by September 2024. Whilst Student Minds welcomed this ambition, we identified the need for additional resources and obtained in-principle support. We have since been in a process to secure additional funding from government in order to scale up all aspects of the programme and supporting systems to respond to this rapid expansion. As this process is still ongoing, we are alerting members that in the meantime we will need to make some alterations to our delivery plans for next year.
The key development is that we will not be able to schedule any additional institutions for assessments at the present time. As is the case with all Universities which sign-up and step forward to undertake the University Mental Health Charter Award Assessment, we will agree with you the timescale for the assessment process in due course. Universities interested in undertaking an Award Assessment in the year ahead can complete this form as an expression of interest for when our temporary pause on new assessments is lifted. This will allow us time to review and reflect on how we deliver our assessment process at scale, ensuring we deliver a full Membership Programme and offer the best customer service to all of our University Members. Universities currently undertaking an Assessment or already scheduled to take place in 2024 will not be affected, and our Programme offer and events will continue as normal during this period.
We have a rich offer of Programme workshops, conferences, and Communities Of Practice which will continue for all members to attend and engage in. This will support and prepare universities for when they are able to go through the University Mental Health Charter Award process.
We plan to offer further updates early in the new year, and would like to thank you for your support and commitment to improving student mental health.
For more information please see our FAQ’s provided below.
Rosie Tressler OBE (CEO) on Behalf of the Student Minds team.
We are currently undergoing an Assessment, what does this mean for us?
All universities that have already started the assessment process or already scheduled with our team for 2024 will be unaffected, and those assessments will continue as planned.
My Institution is ready for Assessment, what does this mean for us?
We invite you to complete this form as an expression of interest to be part of the next Assessment Process. Universities on this list will be prioritised when we begin to undertake additional Assessments.
We encourage Universities who are waiting for assessment to continue to engage with the Programme. The UMHC Programme supports universities as they work towards the Principles of Good Practice laid out in the University Mental Health Charter Framework and create lasting cultural change to become places that promote the mental health and wellbeing of all members of the university community.
You can access our updated version of the University Mental Health Charter Award Handbook here. We will continue to share updated Award resources and guidance via the Hub as they are developed. Please ensure you have your Hub notifications switched on, and that these updates are shared amongst your UMHC Domain Leads.
How does this impact current Programme Members?
We appreciate that some universities have been Programme Members for a while and may feel they are nearing readiness for an Assessment.
This announcement will not impact the University Mental Health Charter Programme offerings. All planned events will run as intended.
We encourage current members to make the most of the opportunity to share learning within the community of practice and the in-person and online events. The Charter’s core purpose is to support Universities to embed a whole-university approach to proactively create environments to promote wellbeing. We encourage universities to continue to use the Framework and Programme opportunities to continue to grow, develop and deliver their approach to better mental health for their university community.
Can we still join as new Programme Members? What is included?
Membership to the University Mental Health Charter 23/24 Programme continues and registration for this current cohort ran from Spring to Autumn 2023. The registration window for the 24/25 Programme cohort will open in Spring 2024.
We invite new universities to join as members to adopt a whole–university approach to mental health and become places that promote the mental health and wellbeing of all members of the university community.
Membership to the University Mental Health Charter includes:
- Four in-person one-day conferences, each focussing on different Themes within the Charter Framework
- Six online sessions sharing Student Minds insights and exploring different themes within the Charter Framework
- Communities of Practice aimed at sharing experiences and facilitating peer learning
When will Student Minds be ready to take on new Assessments again?
This temporary pause for new Assessments will allow us to secure future investment, expand the team and review and reflect on how we deliver our Assessments at scale to effectively meet demand. We hope to begin the next rounds of Assessments in the 24/25 Programme (academic) year and we will continue to communicate with members as we know more.
We will reach out to those universities on the waiting list to confirm the next available timelines directly, once we have more information about additional resources and can confirm our approach for scale.
When will we find out more?
We plan to share further updates in the new year, and to provide a specific announcement about Assessment Timelines to members in the Summer term. Keep an eye on your inbox and on our University Mental Health Charter website to find out more.