Wirral Met College has signed up to the Association of Colleges (AoC) Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter, which demonstrates the College’s commitment to creating an environment that promotes student and staff wellbeing and that proactively supports student and staff mental health.
AoC North West Area Director Richard Caulfield joined Principal Sue Higginson, Assistant Principal for Student Support Ste Bailey, Director of People & Organisational Development and managers who work closely to support students, to sign the Charter.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter requires colleges to have a wellbeing and mental health policy with a clear implementation action plan which is monitored and reviewed regularly.
With a firm commitment to providing a positive environment to support student and staff wellbeing led by the senior management team, Wirral Met already has a number of initiatives in place. During the past academic year several staff have been trained in specialist Mental Health First Aid, and our partners in Wirral Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services are now providing this training to a further 24 staff. Specialist Support Tutors and Pastoral Support Mentors provide a wide range of support to students including mental health and wellbeing, and existing links with local health and voluntary sector mental health groups are being developed further. Earlier in the year Dr Joe Delaney, lecturer in Complementary Therapies, ran a series of Emotional Resilience and Well-being sessions for staff. The College is also in the process of recruiting two Mental Health and Welfare Officers, a new role for the college that will build on our established good practice to further develop these services for our students.
By signing up to the Charter, Wirral Met’s leaders will build on the College’s mission of being inclusive and further promote its values and behaviours including respect for those with mental ill health. Staff, students and members of the Students’ Union will work together over the coming academic year to develop targeted individual mental health support. This will also support the promotion of equality of opportunity and challenging mental health stigma through teaching and tutorial programmes.
Richard Caulfield, Mental Health lead at the Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like Wirral Met College provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people. This includes providing support for both staff and student wellbeing at the right time, in the right place. This charter gives colleges the chance to publicly state their commitment to the mental health agenda.”
Sue Higginson, Principal at Wirral Met concurred, saying “We are delighted to commit to this charter which highlights the importance of actively supporting wellbeing, particularly mental health and we are looking forward to working with our staff and students to continue to nurture and develop this within our college community. Thanks to the AoC for making this a priority within the Further Education Sector.”