COLLEGE staff have pledged to tackle mental health issues which are believed to affect one in five of the population.
Senior managers at Darlington College have signed a brand new national mental health and wellbeing charter, created by the Association of Colleges in conjunction with mental health experts.
The 11-point document aims to promote equality of opportunity and challenge mental health stigma. It also seeks to provide appropriate mental health training for staff and provide individual mental health support where needed.
Every year, one in 10 young people experience a mental health problem and one in five aged 16-24 experience a common mental illness such as anxiety or depression.
Research shows that 75 per cent of adults with a diagnosable mental health problem experience their first symptoms before the age of 24.
“This means colleges such as ours are in a position to play a vital role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of students and staff,” said principal and chief executive Kate Roe.
Chairman of Darlington College’s board Pat Howarth said: “This is more than just the signing of a document, it reflects a commitment by the college to create a caring culture recognising the importance of mental health and wellbeing.”
Mental Health lead at the Association of Colleges Richard Caulfield added: “Every single day colleges provide a world class education and transform the lives of millions of people. This includes providing support for both staff and student wellbeing at the right time, in the right place.”
The mental health charter encourages colleges to commit to:
- wellbeing and mental health work being led by a senior manager
- having a wellbeing and mental health policy with a clear implementation action plan
- creating an open and inclusive college ethos which includes respect for those with mental ill health
- promoting equality of opportunity and challenging mental health stigma through teaching and tutorials
- encouraging and collecting student views by working with the Students Union and other student representative bodies
- providing appropriate mental health training for staff
- providing relevant information to parents and carers
- establishing effective links with local health system and voluntary sector mental health providers
- promoting the benefits of physical activity and sport.