University of the West of England

Implementing a strategic approach to mental wellbeing in higher education

Led by the University of the West of England (UWE), this project will raise the strategic importance of mental wellbeing across higher education through local approaches, developing a sector toolkit and sharing best practice.

The University of West of England is leading the partnership with Universities UK, Cardiff University, York University and Student Minds to implementing a strategic approach to mental wellbeing in higher education.

The components of that project will be to:

  • pilot implementation of the approach initially across three institutions
  • develop a suite of improvement tools
  • develop a validated mental health and wellbeing audit
  • disseminate these tools across the sector.

As part of this, individual universities are developing their own individual mental health strategies based on the Step Change Framework and the whole university approach.

The Universities UK (UUK) Step Framework has been developed to support higher education senior teams to adopt a whole university approach to mental health. Every institution will therefore adapt it to context, building on strong engagement with students and staff and a robust evaluation of need.

Each university should adopt the whole university approach to mental health and wellbeing.

Adoption of a whole university approach requires strong and strategic leadership, engagement of multiple constituencies and partners and sustained prioritisation. It asks universities to reconfigure themselves as health-promoting and supportive environments in support of their core missions of learning, research and social and economic value creation and to embed this across all activities.

The role of Students Minds is to support the inclusion of the student voice in the project and the co-production of the mental health and wellbeing strategies.

The role of UUK is to:

  • Support the implementation of the approach initially across the three institutions
  • Support the development of a suite improvement tools
  • Develop a validated mental health and wellbeing audit
  • Disseminate these tools across the sector.

Catalyst funding 

£490,000
Total project funding £890,000
Project contact name Suzanne Carrie 
Project contact email [email protected]
Project contact telephone 0117 328 3527

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