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Group signs new AoC Mental Health Charter

Sam Wright, Principal and Chief Executive Officer at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group with the signed charter

Sam Wright, Principal and Chief Executive Officer at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group with the signed charter

Demonstrating its commitment to supporting student and staff mental health and wellbeing, the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group has officially signed the Association of Colleges’ (AoC) new Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter.

Developed in partnership with education professionals and senior health leads, the charter has been updated following its creation in 2019 to address the rise in mental health difficulties in young people.

This comes following research published by the AoC in 2023 which found that 95% of colleges said there had been a significant or slight increase of disclosed mental health difficulties among 16 to 18-year-olds. The research also found that 82% of colleges were encountering a significant number of students experiencing mental health difficulties without a formal disclosure.

Research published by the NHS in November 2023 also found that 20.3% of young people aged 8-16 had a probable mental disorder. Among 17 to 19-year-olds, the proportion was 23.3%, while in 20 to 25-year-olds it was 21.7%.

Sam Wright, Principal and Chief Executive Officer at the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group, said: “We work closely with thousands of young people across our three Colleges, so it’s vital that we understand the challenges they are facing and that staff have the correct mental health training. Although we have been members of the AoC’s Mental Health and Wellbeing Charter since 2019, these new practices and standards ensure that we are evolving and adapting our approach to ensure its holistic and meets the needs of both our learners and colleagues.

“We have implemented a number of initiatives across the Group such as mental health and wellbeing support groups and services, feel good days and activities, celebration events, staff reward schemes and more – ensuring that we create a working environment where students and colleagues feel valued and supported,” added Sam.

The 11 principles outlined in the original charter remain but are now embedded across four themes that make up the new Mental Health Charter framework, underpinned by good practice principles and standards. These themes focus on leadership and ethos, support for students, workplace wellbeing and evidence and impact.

To support the mental health and wellbeing of its students, the Heart of Yorkshire Education Group has a dedicated Student Experience Team who ensure that all students receive the support they need to make the most of their student experience and studies.

The team includes Student Wellbeing Officers who can support students with a wide range of needs, including confidence, low mood, managing emotions, healthy relationships, homelessness, bullying, problems at home and more.

Tuesday, 14 May, 2024

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