Thursday, 18 April 2024
Thursday, 18 April 2024

The Charlie Watkins Foundation: Giving students a voice

THE Charlie Watkins Foundation (CWF) has several charity partners which provide crucial support for young people who may be struggling with their mental health and wellbeing. Student Minds, the UK’s student mental health charity, has been working with CWF to further its shared objective of making a difference in the way universities approach mental health.

There are more than 2.5 million students studying in UK universities and mental health has been a focus of increasing concern, with a weight of evidence suggesting that large numbers of students are experiencing poor mental health.

After all, most students would have been leaving home for the first time – not to mention the financial, social and academic pressures associated with higher education. 

This is why in 2019, Student Minds worked with thousands of staff and students to publish the University Mental Health Charter, which provides a set of principles to support universities across the UK to make mental health a university-wide priority.

It aims to provide clarity to universities on what they can do to better support mental health challenges and help shape a future in which everyone in higher education can thrive.

Student Minds then began piloting the University Mental Health Charter Award in 2020, a voluntary improvement scheme to recognise and reward universities that promote good mental health and demonstrate good practice.

To achieve the award, universities work alongside students and a team of peer assessors to evaluate their progress against the University Mental Health Charter.

This is where the Charlie Watkins Foundation comes in. 

With the support of funding from CWF, an assessment tool has been co-created with students which empowers students to play a part in the Charter assessment process.

The tool gives students the opportunity to offer honest feedback on where there is room for improvement. It ensures that any changes made by universities truly meet the needs and priorities of their students. 

Student Minds will launch the tool at the beginning of 2022 with 41 universities that are currently members of the University Mental Health Charter programme. It is hoped the assessment tool will help promote a more effective collaboration between universities and student representatives in improving mental health and wellbeing.

This project would not have been possible without the help and support of generous donors and fundraisers at the Charlie Watkins Foundation.

If you like the sound of this project and you’re keen to help, please consider making a donation or setting up a fundraiser via our JustGiving page. 


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