The issue of mental health and well-being is high on the political agenda and colleges have reported an unprecedented rise in student mental ill health over the last two years. This new award seeks to recognise a college that has adopted outstanding approaches in supporting both students and staff, helping them maintain good mental health and well-being. In particular they will be highly effective in helping students with mental health issues to succeed.
To underpin mental health support, the assessors will also be looking to see evidence of a whole, healthy-college approach carefully designed to enrich the experience of all students. This could include access to healthy choices and increased opportunities for students to take part in sport and physical activity.
Colleges should provide evidence that demonstrates intent and impact of the essential criteria and two or more of the additional criteria:
- A coherent whole college mental health strategy leading to good support for students and effective referral pathways. Support might include good strategic relationships with, for example, the mental health service providers for adults or adolescents, and clinical commissioning groups.
- Highly effective mental health awareness training for staff and resources to support students with mental health issues. The impact being evident through the number of students being identified, the provision of highly effective on-course support, increased student success and positive progression.
- A strategy which supports the mental health and well-being of college staff resulting in a more resilient workforce reporting fewer absences due to ill health and improved morale.
- The use of national standards for college sport (Towards Outstanding) to promote and encourage participation in physical activity for staff and students resulting in increased involvement across the college.
- An environment where making healthy choices is encouraged, e.g. a range of affordable, healthy options available in the dining areas; cycle to college scheme etc. resulting in improved attendance, concentration and retention.
- A positive and supportive environment where students can discuss and be informed of drug and alcohol awareness, internet and social media safety and sexual and social relationships resulting in them feeling secure and able to learn.