Mental Health and Wellbeing

Supporting the mental health of students and staff has become a major issue for all our member colleges.  In order to address this challenge we developed an AoC Policy Group on Mental Health and Wellbeing, the Aoc Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter and an ongoing relationship with Charlie Waller Memorial Trust. The monthly briefings serve to inform members of our ongoing work on this agenda, highlight resources and identify key policy initiatives that impact upon all of our work.

Coronavirus update (17 March 2020)

Supporting positive student and staff mental health has been a growing challenge for colleges in recent years so supporting everybody through the COVID-19 outbreak is undoubtedly going to add to the challenge at what is already a stressful time of year for many.

You don’t have to be self-isolating in order for coronavirus concerns to have an impact on your mental health. Students and staff might find they are feeling worried about the spread of coronavirus and its impact on themselves and loved ones. These feelings are normal and it’s important we acknowledge them.

There are steps everyone can take to look after their mental health and wellbeing. A number of organisations have published guidance on mental health considerations relating to the coronavirus outbreak, including:


The Mental Health Foundation

Young Minds


We may assume that people will not always be able to access face-to-face services in the coming weeks. For staff and students with ongoing MH difficulties there are specific organisations that provide more general guidance:

Anxiety UK

There are also some self-help materials for students with anxiety here:

Centre for Clinical Interventions - Worry and Rumination

Students Against Depression

No Panic

There are also self-help resources for students with Panic Disorder here.


Also it is worth ensuring staff are fully aware of Education Support Partnership who can provide wellbeing support as well as financial support for staff in education who face difficulties.

For students, Student Minds, whilst focused on universities, has a helpful page of further resources, links and advice which will be relevant to your student body.


Apps to help self-management 

There is a plethora of apps that can help with health-management, remote-monitoring and staying healthy. However, app stores are unregulated, and 85% of apps do not meet ORCHA's quality threshold.

This website provides links to apps that meet their threshold for a range of conditions – but the following apps for self-care and anxiety:

Wysa* is an emotionally intelligent chatbot which employs research-backed, widely used techniques such as CBT, DBT, Yoga and meditation, to support users with stress, anxiety, sleep, loss and a whole range of other mental health and wellness needs.

 Your.MD is a health tracker and symptom checker powered by Artificial Intelligence, which has been developed by doctors and data scientists. It provides instant personalised health information and services, whenever and wherever it’s needed, for free.

 eQuoo* is an evidence-based Emotional Fitness Game, combining the excitement and joy of gaming and the expertise of mental health professionals to provide a new form of mobile prevention and therapy for young adults 18-28-years old. 

 (* may involve in-app purchase)

NHS Apps-library

NHS has an app library and there are a number of Apps that are free that link to stress, anxiety, self-harm and other mental health related support here.


Other support is available through well known national charities and it is worth sharing those numbers across your organisation:

  • Your GP or GPs out of hours service
  • Childline up to 18 yrs  0800 1111
  • NSPCC up to 18 yrs 0808 800 5000 24/7
  • Samaritans – 18+ confidential listening service open 24/7  116 123
  • Papyrus Hopeline UK – for young people feeling suicidal open Mon-Fr 10-10 Sat-Sun 2-5 0800 068 4141
  • Mindinfoline 9am - 6pm 7days 0300 123 3393 text 86463
  • Kooth - Free, safe and anonymous online support for young people Monday – Friday 12pm – 10pm Saturday – Sunday 6pm – 10pm
  • TESS - 0780 047 2908 text support for girls and young women up to 24 years affected by self-harm. Open Sun-Thurs 7pm – 9pm
  • CASS Self Injury Helpline for women 0808 800 8088 FREE Mon to Thurs evenings from 7-10pm

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