Making mental health a priority

To mark the start of Mental Health Awareness Week, Vice-Chancellor and President Professor Nishan Canagarajah, has reaffirmed the University of Leicester’s commitment to student and staff mental health.

His comments come as Universities UK releases a revised version of its strategic framework for mental health and wellbeing at universities. Stepchange: mentally healthy universities, calls on universities to prioritise the mental health of their students and staff by considering it across all practices, policies, courses and cultures.

Professor Nishan Canagarajah, President and Vice-Chancellor at the University of Leicester said: “Staff and student mental wellbeing remains a key priority for the University. We are wholly committed to ensuring that we are supporting our staff and students during the uncertainty of the current situation and for life after lockdown.

“We have prioritised taking a ‘whole university’ approach towards mental health for students and staff - our student support services continue to run remotely and we have launched a wellbeing toolkit for staff.

“We recognise that the current situation has been far from easy for our University community, however I am proud of how we have come together to go above and beyond despite the circumstances. We will do all we can to ensure students and staff can access the help they require – mental health wellness goes beyond Mental Health Awareness week and we will continue to support our community.”

The revised framework’s advice to universities includes the need to demonstrate visible leadership and senior ownership of mental health as a priority to promote open conversations and sustain change; work closely with students and staff to develop mental health strategies and services, and ensure accessible and appropriately resourced support for mental health and wellbeing for all students and all staff.

First published in 2017, the Stepchange framework asked universities to view the mental health and wellbeing of the whole university community as a priority.