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Bristol “proud” to receive University Mental Health Charter Award

The University of Bristol's Wills Memorial Building

The University of Bristol's Wills Memorial Building

Press release issued: 14 December 2022

Bristol is one of the first universities to receive the University Mental Health Charter Award.

Student Minds, which runs the Award, said “in the last 2-3 years, Bristol University has taken a strong, structured, whole-university approach towards improving mental health and wellbeing across the whole community”.

Student Minds scrutinised 18 areas of the University's support for mental health: from its support services and proactive interventions to its inclusivity and accommodation.

The University of Bristol said it was “proud to achieve this Award, which recognises the continued hard work of hundreds of staff and students” and said that “we know there is more to be done and we will keep working to do the best for our community”.

Student Minds is encouraging all UK universities to apply for the Award, but only a handful have so far achieved it.

In its report on Bristol, Student Minds said its Assessment Team had “identified a number of instances of excellent and sector-leading practice”.

It added: “In summary, the Assessment Team feels that Bristol is now on a journey in which significant good practice has been developed across the institution and that there is a commitment to further learning and improvement."

The University conducted a robust, evidenced-based assessment of its entire support offer, including areas that could use improvement. A 22,000 word report and two-day inspection from Student Minds were part of the assessment process.

Richard Edwards, the University’s Head of Student Wellbeing and Lead for the Award, said: “Achieving the Award is the result of years of hard work by staff across the university – including through a pandemic and a cost of living crisis. I want to send my heartfelt thanks to those staff who helped us achieve it.”

Paula Coonerty, the University’s Executive Director for Education and Student Experience, said: “While there is always more we want to do to support our students, I am very proud that Student Minds have given our talented and hard-working teams this vote of confidence.”

According to Student Minds, the Award is not a “gold standard” but shows that all awardees are “demonstrating some good practice, managing risk acceptably, are committed to mental health and have a constructive plan for the future”.

Bristol will now submit an annual progress report to Student Minds. After five years it can apply for a higher level of the award.

Sarah Purdy, the University’s Pro Vice-Chancellor for Student Experience and a part-time GP, said: “The University has been on a journey to improve its mental health support for students. Though that journey is far from complete we are proud to achieve this award, which recognises the continued hard work of hundreds of staff and students.

“I would like to thank them all now, sincerely, for everything they do – from our staff in schools, wellbeing and residential life advisors, disability support workers and counsellors, to the students who offer us new ideas and support each other on a daily basis. This Award is for you.

“We know there is more to be done and we will keep working to do the best for our community.”

Further information

To find out more about the University’s wellbeing support services or to find help, visit the website.

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