Last week was University Mental Health Day (UMHD19) – a national day of events where students around the UK unite to change the narrative around student mental health.
It is a day where organisers aim to bring together the university community to make mental health a university-wide priority.
Here at Bristol the mental health and wellbeing of our students and our staff has been at the forefront of our minds and planning for some time.
You will remember that last autumn we launched a consultation with our staff and students about our new mental health and wellbeing strategies.
I said at the time that we can only get ahead of this issue if we all work together so I was delighted with the level of feedback we collected from across our community.
We received lots of honest and insightful comments as well as many supportive and innovative ideas.
That feedback was further informed by our Independent Expert Advisory Group of national and international research experts, policy makers and practitioners ensuring our approach was informed by best practice in higher education, health and social care.
Importantly, for the student focused strategy, it was developed in real partnership with our students, whose insights have brought to life the challenges faced by young people today.
This approached is echoed on the University Mental Health Day 2019 website when it says: ‘Students and members of the university community, as experts by experience, best understand the challenges that university presents and are best placed to influence change’.
Our work at Bristol has led to the publication of our new Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy and to a Staff Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy.
The steps we are taking are part of a journey that will evolve over time. New activities and initiatives will emerge as we learn from our work here at Bristol, and as all parts of our society understand more about these complex challenges.
By continuing to work together with staff and students I believe we can build an environment where everyone can thrive, and where wellbeing is central to all we do.
Please take some time to look at the strategies to see what is already underway and what is still to be delivered and let us know if you feel something is missing or highlight an area you feel we need to focus on.