Every year, one in ten young people experience a mental health problem and one in five young people aged 16-24 experience a common mental illness such as anxiety or depression; and 75% of adults with a diagnosable mental health problem experience their first symptoms before the age of 24.
Colleges are central to supporting people with mental health – they educate and train 2.2 million people each year, including 685,000 young people. That is why, this Mental Health Awareness Week, colleges across England are reaffirming their commitment to staff and students by signing up to a brand new national mental health and wellbeing charter - created by the Association of Colleges, in conjunction with mental health experts.
The 11-point document includes commitments to:
- Promoting equality of opportunity and challenging mental health stigma
- Providing appropriate mental health training for staff
- Providing targeted individual mental health support where appropriate
Richard Caulfield, Mental Health lead at the Association of Colleges, said:
“Every single day colleges across England 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.
“Mental Health Awareness Week is an opportunity to celebrate the brilliant things that go on and our charter gives colleges the chance to publicly state their commitment to the mental health agenda.”
Luciana Berger MP for Liverpool Wavertree, said:
“We know that young people in our country are facing a mental health crisis. We also know that our teaching workforce is experiencing endemic levels of stress and mental ill health.
“The measures set out in this charter will help promote early intervention for those struggling with their mental health. We know that a supportive environment and being able to stay in meaningful education, training or work is one thing that can promote recovery.”
Colleges that have already signed up to the AoC Mental Health Charter include:
- Boston College
- DN College Group
- Activate learning
- Oaklands College
- Nottingham College
- Brockenhurst College
- Cambridge Regional College
- Warrington and Vale Royal
- East Coast College
- Fareham College
- Leyton College
- Peterborough Regional College
- Doncaster College
- Easton and Otley college
- Weston College
- London South East Colleges
- Richmond Upon Thames College
- Newham Sixth Form College
- Coventry College
- Derby College
- Lincoln College
This year’s Mental Health Awareness Week coincides with the #LoveOurColleges campaign’s ‘week of activity’, which sees colleges across the country hosting events to showcase the brilliant stuff they do, day in and day out.
Signing up to charter:
For AoC member colleges wanting to sign up to the charter, you can find information here.