To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the letter from the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education to all Higher Education leaders of 5 June 2023, how many Universities have signed up to the University Mental Health Charter Programme since the date of that letter.
To ask the Secretary of State for Education, with reference to the letter from the Minister for Skills, Apprenticeships and Higher Education to all Higher Education leaders of 5 June 2023, what proportion of the university leaders that he wrote to (a) attended and (b) sent a delegate to the online Charter Question and Answer session on 19 June 2023.
It is a priority for this government that students are provided with the mental health support they need. We are taking an approach based on three pillars:
On 5 June 2023, the department wrote to all HE providers asking for their strongest possible commitment to the mental health of our students, including by showing ownership of mental health at an executive level. We set a target for universities to sign up to Student Minds’ University Mental Health Charter by September 2024 so that they take a whole-university approach to mental health and wellbeing and follow the principles set out in the Charter.
Student Minds ran two Q&A sessions for universities considering joining the University Mental Health Charter Programme. The session on 16 of June had 68 attendees. The session on 18 of June had 53 attendees.
61 universities had joined the Programme by the 2022/23 academic year. Following my letter and the Q&A sessions, a significant number of universities applied during the summer 2023 application window. The department can confirm the Programme now has 96 members for the 2023/24 academic year, which represents excellent progress towards the target in a short amount of time. The full list of members can be found here: https://hub.studentminds.org.uk/charter-programme-members-23-24/.
The department also had a good response on the back of my letter, with nine HE providers writing back. I continue to raise the value of Charter Programme membership with universities and sector representatives and will be hosting a roundtable on the mental health of students with university leaders later this year.
Going further, the Higher Education Mental Health Taskforce is looking at the adoption of best practice on higher mental health more broadly. With leadership from Professor Edward Peck, it includes representatives from students, parents, mental health experts and the HE sector. It will deliver a final report by May 2024.