Mental Health Charter Programme

BCU has joined the University Mental Health Charter Programme, which aims to improve support for staff and student mental health in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic.

Led by student mental health charity Student Minds, the Charter Programme brings together universities committed to making mental health and wellbeing a university-wide priority, to share practice and create cultural change.

The University is able to access events and opportunities to improve its approach to student and staff mental health. It will also work towards the Charter Award, an accreditation scheme which recognises universities that demonstrate excellent practice.

Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Academic) Professor Peter Francis said: “BCU understands that the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff underpins the ability of our entire community to thrive.

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“Securing recognition through the University Mental Health Charter will enable BCU to build on our range of existing activities and services in this important area, confirming the quality of what we do now, and identifying opportunities to go further.

“Working together as one community to achieve Charter recognition will foster the right environment for our students and staff to be the best they can be, safe in the knowledge that their wellbeing is a strategic priority.”

Find out more about the programme. For further information, contact the Mental Health and Wellbeing Team.

Mental Health at BCU

[00:00:03] Speaker 1 Hello, my name is Professor Peter Francis and I'm Deputy Vice Chancellor academic here at Birmingham City University. One of the many important parts of my job is working with our staff and our students union to ensure that our students have the best possible experience during their time. Here at BCU, we are deeply committed to looking after the mental health and well-being of both our students and our staff. That is why we really are excited to become one of the first universities to sign up to the Mental Health Charts program led by mental health charity Student Minds. The program is made up of universities like ours, which are committed to making mental health and wellbeing a priority. Together, universities involved in the program can share best practice and create real cultural change. As part of our membership of the program, we are working towards a charter award which recognises universities that demonstrate excellent practice. Securing recognition through the University Mental Health Charter will enable BCU to build in our range of existing activities and services, confirming the quality of what we do now and identifying opportunities to grow further. I'm also proud to be working closely with our students and staff through a charter working group which I chaired to listen to ideas and feedback and to drive forward improvements and investments in all of our mental health and wellbeing services. We are also setting up a separate student advisory group to ensure we continue to take into account the student voice in everything we do.

[00:01:45] Speaker 2 The charts are in shows that we have a framework to help us take a whole institution approach to mental health. It assesses us on four key areas Support learning. Living and working the charts. Reward Working Group has aligned our workstreams to these four key areas, as well as creating an additional one on data. These areas provide focus so we're not just thinking of mental health and wellbeing in terms of students and staff who are struggling and how they can access help. But we're also promoting and supporting positive mental health and wellbeing in all aspects of student life and for our staff too. That includes embedding mental health and wellbeing into the way we plan teaching and learning, for example. It also means looking at how we help students transition successfully into university, creating a sense of belonging and a feeling of community. We've seen that in the I Am BCU campaign, a campaign that started with our students. We also need to ensure that our campuses, from our teaching spaces to our accommodation, promote good mental health. Together, we can ensure that we have the strongest possible approach to wellbeing and mental health.

[00:02:57] Speaker 3 Hi. I'm Danish. And as president of Birmingham City University Students Union, I'm also feeding into Mental Health Charter Award to ensure that students voice is heard and that students are involved in the process. I'm really proud to be helping BCU to understand what students want and identifying where any gaps might be making a real difference to students at the university.

[00:03:19] Speaker 4 My name is Pravda and I'm the president of the Mental Health Society at BCU, SC. The Mental society is here to promote good mental health, raising awareness, supporting other students, and reducing the stigma and taboos that exist. Together with the Nisha, I'll be representing students and advocating for them as part of the Mental Health charter. We also have a student lead on the project and a student advisory group that's 12 BCU students who will provide feedback on mental health at BCU on ongoing basis beyond the work of the charter.

[00:03:56] Speaker 5 We've done a significant amount of work in recent years to develop and improve our mental health and wellbeing services for staff, and this has been rewarded by obtaining a five year accreditation from the Workplace Wellbeing Charter earlier this year. One of the ways we were able to gain this award is by offering our staff access to a wide suite of resources, including mental health training, access to an employee assistance provider, a yearly timetable of wellbeing webinars and access to an onsite wellbeing studio. However, we know that making sure staff feel valued and supported is an ongoing task and one that needs continual development. So as we work towards the mental health Charter, we're ensuring that this is a priority across all areas of our work and that the wellbeing of our staff community is front and centre of everything we do. Understanding the views of our staff and mental health and wellbeing is a crucial part of our evaluation process. The Charter Working Group and Underpinning Workstreams include membership from across the university, ranging from academics right through to professional services staff. This ensures we gave a proper understanding of how staff see and experience mental health and wellbeing at BCU.

[00:05:06] Speaker 1 We want to create an environment where our staff and students can thrive, where they feel supported and included, and are aware of where to seek help should they need it. So please do come on this journey with us. Remember, if you need help, we are here to support you.