Funding boost to support Student Minds' University Mental Health Charter

The Office for Students (OfS) has announced £400,000 in funding to support the rising demand for the University Mental Health Charter.

The Charter was launched in 2019 by the UK's student mental health charity, Student Minds. It sets out a range of principles designed to help universities improve mental health support for students and the wider university community. With initial funding from the OfS and the UPP Foundation, the Charter was developed in consultation and collaboration with universities and colleges, students, and clinical experts.  

Student Minds has seen a significant increase in members following the target for all universities to join the Charter Programme by September 2024, which was set last year by the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Robert Halfon.

This additional funding from the OfS will support the acceleration of the Charter programme by increasing Student Minds’ capacity to facilitate the rapid growth in membership.  

The £400,000 funding – which will be distributed to Student Minds – will support: 

  • increased staffing to support accelerated delivery, Award assessments and development of the programme 
  • investment in digital infrastructure to develop new project management software and completion of the Digital Hub space for programme members 
  • capacity for online and in-person events for members to reflect, hear from experts and connect with each other 
  • engagement with external organisations to understand how learning and insights can inform the development of the programme.

John Blake, Director for Fair Access and Participation at the Office for Students (OfS), said: 

‘Poor mental health remains a significant barrier to students’ ability to succeed and effectively engage with their course. We know that many universities and colleges have already made good progress in developing their support services, but there is more we can do to ensure that students from all backgrounds arrive and thrive in higher education. 

‘We are delighted to announce further funding for Student Minds to continue the important and impactful work they do through the University Mental Health Charter. We encourage universities and colleges to consider the principles of the Charter framework and explore how these could apply to their own context and improve the support they are offering students.’ 

Yeme Onoabhagbe, CEO of Student Minds, said: 

‘At Student Minds, we are very grateful for the OfS's funding for the University Mental Health Charter. The OfS’s financial support will enable us to accelerate our University Mental Health Charter to ensure we can support more universities to shape a future in which everyone in higher education can thrive. We look forward to expanding our network of 96 universities on the Charter Programme, working with many more universities, staff and students to ensure a whole-university approach to mental health and wellbeing.’ 

Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education, Robert Halfon, said:

‘Supporting students’ mental health and wellbeing is essential to ensuring that they reach their full potential while at university.

‘We set a target for all universities to join the University Mental Health Charter by this September to improve their approach to mental health. Since then, there has been a 50% increase in membership, bringing us two thirds of the way there. As membership grows beyond the 96 universities already signed up, this extra £400,000 will enable Student Minds to expand delivery of the programme.

‘The Charter is a core part of the three pillars that underpin our approach to student mental health: funding vital services, spreading and implementing best practice, and setting clear responsibilities for providers. I encourage all universities who have not yet signed up to do so, to help ensure that all students can thrive at university knowing that there is a safety net in place, should they need it.’

For further information contact 0117 905 7676 or [email protected]. 


  1. The University Mental Health Charter was co-created with input from hundreds of students, staff and researchers from over 200 different universities, students’ unions and higher education organisations across the UK. It provides a set of principles of good practice that challenge universities to go beyond baseline requirements and make mental health a university-wide priority. 
  2. Read Student Minds’ announcement. 
  3. Student Minds is the UK’s student mental health charity. They have a clear vision - no student should be held back by their mental health. They empower students to build their own mental health toolkit to support themselves and their peers through university life and beyond. They challenge the higher education sector, health sector, and government to make student mental health a priority.


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