Newcastle College has pledged its commitment to staff and students by signing up to a national mental health and wellbeing charter.
Created by the Association of Colleges in conjunction with mental health experts, the charter asks colleges to commit to a number of key actions. These include providing appropriate mental health training for staff and providing targeted, individual mental health support where appropriate.
It also requires colleges to commit to challenging mental health stigma through curriculum and promote wellbeing for students through tutorial programmes.
Scott Bullock, Principal of Newcastle College commented: “Supporting the mental health and wellbeing of our entire community is always important, but especially as we adjust to another period of remote work and study.
“We have a fantastic team who ensure that our students receive the right support when they need it, but signing this Charter demonstrates our commitment to doing more.
“Every NCG college has made this commitment and I look forward to working with colleagues across our group to improve access to our wellbeing and mental health provision for all of our students and staff.”
Signing the charter is the latest action that Newcastle College has taken to support its community during the Covid-19 pandemic. Since colleges were first asked to close their campuses and move to remote teaching and learning in March 2020, Newcastle College has ensured it has continued to provide robust mental health and wellbeing support to both its students and staff.
Dedicated student support teams are in place to provide both academic and personal support to students and as an NCG college it offers students and colleagues free access to Fika, a mental health app designed to help students stay motivated, focused and connected while studying remotely. Tutors and teachers at Newcastle College have been using the app to open up discussions on mental health in classes and individual discussions, while daily livestreams and activities tackle topics such as connection, stress and self-care to help students overcome the mental health impact of Covid-19 and remote study.
Colleges across England teach and train 2.2 million people each year - including 685,000 young people. Every year, 1 in 10 young people experience a mental health problem and 1 in 5 young people aged 16-24 experience a common mental illness such as anxiety or depression at any one time. Add to these facts, 75% of adults with a diagnosable mental health problem experience their first symptoms before the age of 24 meaning that NCG plays a vital role in supporting the mental health and wellbeing of its thousands of students and staff.
Richard Caulfield, Mental Health lead at the Association of Colleges, said: “Every single day colleges like those within NCG 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. This charter gives colleges the chance to publicly state their commitment to the mental health agenda.”