BACP is calling on university staff and students to take part in a survey to help shape the future of how mental health is addressed in higher education.

The University Mental Health Charter is being developed by the charity Student Minds to try to make student and staff mental health a university-wide priority at institutions across the UK.

It aims to help universities develop holistic approaches to mental health and to recognise those that are already delivering excellent work.

Universities Minister Chris Skidmore has referred to the charter as the first of “three pillars” of a new deal for university mental health.

Student Minds has now launched a survey to gather feedback that will help to create the charter.

We’re keen that university counsellors’ views and expertise helps to shape strategies in the sector and this document, as our members are the experts who have been working with students many years.

Vital role of counselling

And as an organisation, we're aiming to influence the development of the charter through Student Minds’ upcoming roadshow events and consultation, using these opportunities to stress the benefits of universities employing professional, trained counsellors.

We launched our university and colleges campaign in October, to help raise awareness about the importance and benefits of embedded counselling services within universities and colleges.

Géraldine Dufour, chair of BACP’s University and Colleges division, said:

“We hope this charter will show how important it is to invest in professional mental health support to benefit both students and staff, and the vital role that counsellors play in universities.

“It’s crucial universities employ professional and qualified counsellors so their students and staff have access to the right support at the right time. Counselling services have an important role to play as part of an integrated support network for students – and we need university leaders to listen to this message.

“This survey gives students, staff and university counsellors an opportunity to share their experience and expertise on what challenges need to be addressed by the institutions – but also to highlight the positive work already being carried out in counselling services across the country. Please use your voice and have your say in the survey.”

The survey is open until 7th April and available online here.

Read more: 'Counselling helps students in distress access opportunities at university'