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North Warwickshire and South Leicestershire College (NWSLC) has joined over 200 colleges across the UK to have reaffirmed its commitment to staff and students by signing up to a new national mental health and wellbeing charter created by the Association of Colleges in conjunction with mental health experts.

The 11-point document includes commitments to:

  • Promoting equality of opportunity and challenging mental health stigma
  • Providing appropriate mental health training for staff
  • Providing targeted individual mental health support where appropriate.

Colleges across England teach and train 2.2 million people each year – including 685,000 young people. Every year, 1 in 10 young people experience a mental health problem and 1 in 5 young people aged 16-24 experience a common mental illness such as anxiety or depression at any one time. In addition, 75 per cent of adults with a diagnosable mental health problem experience their first symptoms before the age of 24, meaning that NWSLC plays a vital role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of its 8,000 plus students and over 750 staff.

Marion Plant, OBE FCGI, Principal and Chief Executive of NWSLC said, “On this World Mental Health Day, it has never been more important to focus on raising awareness of mental health, and how we all need to look after our mental and physical health and promote positive wellbeing.

“At NWSLC, we operate a Wellbeing Hub at all our main campuses and work with the safeguarding and chaplaincy teams to provide support, advice and guidance to students and staff as part of our college-wide mental health strategy.”

The AoC Mental Health Charter colleges to commit to:

  • Ensuring that wellbeing and mental health work is led by a senior manager supported by a member of staff with particular responsibility for mental health
  • Creating an open and inclusive college ethos which includes respect for those with mental ill health.
  • Promoting equality of opportunity and challenging mental health stigma through curriculum teaching and also by promoting wellbeing through tutorial programmes
  • Encouraging and collecting student views on mental health and wellbeing by working with the Students’ Union and other student representative bodies
  • Providing appropriate mental health training for staff
  • Providing relevant information to parents and carers
  • Establishing effective links with local health system and voluntary sector mental health providers
  • Promoting the benefit that physical activity and sport has on mental wellbeing.

Richard Caulfield, mental health lead at the Association of Colleges said, “Every single day colleges like NWSLC 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. This charter gives colleges the chance to publicly state their commitment to the mental health agenda.”

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