BACP has backed a new charter that colleges across the country are signing to show their commitment to supporting the mental health of their staff and students.

The Association of Colleges’ mental health charter was launched during Mental Health Awareness Week.

By signing the document, colleges agree to create an environment that promotes student and staff wellbeing and to proactively support student and staff mental health.

The charter’s 11 points include:

  • Promoting equality of opportunity and challenging mental health stigma
  • Providing targeted individual mental health support where appropriate
  • Ensure that wellbeing and mental health work is led by a senior manager supported by a member of staff with particular responsibility for mental health
  • Have a wellbeing and mental health policy accompanied by a clear implementation action plan which is monitored regularly and reviewed annually
  • Establish effective links with local health and voluntary sector mental health groups

Dozens of colleges across the country have already signed the charter, which was created with the help of mental health experts.

Jo Holmes, our children, young people and families lead, said: “We’re delighted to see colleges making a commitment to supporting the mental health and wellbeing of their staff and students.

“It’s vital colleges have a clear ethos around mental health. This charter is a concise and inclusive statement that adopts a ‘whole college’ approach to the support needed.

“We firmly believe that to deliver this effectively every college needs a qualified counsellor.

“College students can face a range of pressures that can impact on their mental health; from difficulty settling in after moving from secondary school to issues with family, relationships, home lives and social circumstances.

“Counsellors are crucial support during difficult times. They give students a safe space to be honest about their problems and help them to find ways to flourish and achieve their potential.

“We will continue to work with the AoC to promote the importance of college students having access to qualified, paid counsellors.”

Richard Caulfield, Mental Health lead at the Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges across England provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people. This includes providing support for both staff and student wellbeing at the right time, in the right place.

“Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and our charter gives colleges the chance to publicly state their commitment to the mental health agenda.”

BACP Vice-President MP Luciana Berger MP said:

“We know that young people in our country are facing a mental health crisis. We also know that our teaching workforce is experiencing endemic levels of stress and mental ill health. 

“The measures set out in this charter will help promote early intervention for those struggling with their mental health. We know that a supportive environment and being able to stay in meaningful education, training or work is one thing that can promote recovery.”

Read the full charter