This week, Universities Minister Sam Gyimah called on universities to dramatically improve their mental health offering for students, and announced that they will be awarded with a new recognition for meeting new mental health standards.
Gyimah laid out plans for a new charter, which will be developed in partnership with leading charities and Higher Education bodies. He outlined the criteria that universities will need to meet in order to gain the recognition, and urged universities to sign up to ‘avoid failing a generation of students’.
The Minister said: ‘We want mental health support for students to be a top priority for the leadership of all our universities. Progress can only be achieved with their support –I expect them to get behind this important agenda as we otherwise risk failing an entire generation of students.’
‘Universities should see themselves as ‘in loco parentis’–not infantilising students, but making sure support is available where required.’
The Charter’s development will be led by the charity, Student Minds, aided by a £100,000 donation from the University Partnerships Programme.
It will aim to recognise and reward those institutions that demonstrate they have made student and staff mental health a university-wide priority. It will also include ambitions for university mental health teams to coordinate their work with local NHS services.
Commenting on the scale of the task at hand, Gyimah added: ‘This is not a problem that can be solved overnight – but we need to do a better job of supporting students than is happening at the moment.’
Olympic gold medallist, Victoria Pendleton, pulled out of an attempt to climb Mount Everest after feeling ‘psychologically and physiologically damaged.’
She told Radio Times: ‘It’s really put me through the wringer … I’ve taken a real battering. I’ve never felt so overwhelmed with illness.’
The BBC’s article revealed that doctors had advised Pendleton to cut the charity climb short because of oxygen deficiency, which can lead to feelings of depression.
Pendleton also said: ‘They’ve assured me that it’s quite a normal thing and in time it will pass.’
The brother of Frightened Rabbit singer, Scott Hutchison, is appealing to people to educate themselves about mental health.
Grant Hutchison, brother of the 36-year-old musician, spoke about Scott’s battle with depression. Scott was found dead in May of this year.
Grant told Planet Radio: ‘One of the mains things about this is to realise that it’s not just Scott – anyone can go through this.’
Last week Frightened Rabbit performed at Meltdown Festival, replacing their set with a panel to address mental health problems in the music industry.
The discussion was chaired by clinical psychologist Jay Watts. It featured Christine Brown, from the music charity Help Musicians UK; Kristin Hersh, from the band Throwing Muses; Stefan Olsdal, from Placebo, and musician and poet, Dizraeli.
Grant added: ‘I think education and learning about it, and speaking about it to people that don’t experience it and don’t understand it, is an important thing.’
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