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PGR Supervisor Guide to Supporting the Mental Health and Wellbeing (MHWB) of Postgraduate Researchers: UK HE MHWB Sector Context

UUK 'Stepchange: Mentally Healthy Universities' Framework and Approach to Mental Health and Wellbeing

'Good mental health enables learning, work and community. It is fundamental to the core mission of universities. The whole university approach recommends that all aspects of university life promote and support student and staff mental health.  The importance of mental health and wellbeing is in focus now more than ever as people adapt to new ways of living, working and studying. For universities, this means enhancing support for students and staff alike.  UK universities should be places that promote mental health and wellbeing, enabling all students and all staff to thrive and succeed to  their best potential. We can achieve this by all universities making mental health a strategic priority and adopting a whole university approach.' (1)

 

'In May 2020, UUK published a refreshed version of its strategic framework, Stepchange: Mentally Healthy Universities, calling on universities to prioritise the mental health of their students and staff by taking a whole university approach to mental health, meaning that mental health and wellbeing is considered across every aspect of the university and is part of all practices, policies, courses and cultures - a shared framework for change'. (2)

 

'The Stepchange Framework shared a set of principles inform the Student Minds University Mental Health Charter which will provide a voluntary accreditation scheme for universities. UUK has also published an open access self-assessment tool developed with the Child Outcomes Research Consortium.

 

Recommended actions within the new framework include:

  • demonstrating visible leadership and senior ownership of mental health as a priority to promote open conversations and sustain change
  • working closely with students and staff to develop mental health strategies and services
  • ensuring accessible and appropriately resourced support for mental health and wellbeing for all students and all staff
  • focusing on staff mental health; inclusion of mental health in staff performance discussions and provision of appropriate training for line managers and supervisors
  • clarification of the key role of academic staff in supporting the mental health of students through appropriate training and development
  • commitment to assessments and course work that stretch and test learning without imposing unnecessary stress'. (3)

 

Download the Stepchange: Mentally Healthy Universities report here 

 

 

References

1.  https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/stepchange-mhu

 

2.  https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/news/Pages/New-guidance-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing--%E2%80%93-supporting-staff-and-students-more-important-now-than-ever.aspx 

 

3https://www.universitiesuk.ac.uk/news/Pages/New-guidance-on-mental-health-and-wellbeing--%E2%80%93-supporting-staff-and-students-more-important-now-than-ever.aspx?utm_content=bufferb6c57&utm_medium=social&utm_source=twitter.com&utm_campaign=UUK