Student mental health and wellbeing – strategy and campaign launched

The Student Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy outlines a strategic approach the University will take to supporting students during their time at Oxford.

It will be promoted through the Wellbeing at Oxford campaign, launched jointly by the University and Oxford University Student Union to raise awareness about the increased focus in this area.

The University has already included a commitment to student mental health and wellbeing in its 2018-23 Strategic Plan, and invests substantial resources into this area. It spent £2.7m on welfare services in 2018-19, part-funded by the colleges, who also spend significant sums on their own welfare teams. The Counselling Service is highly regarded in the sector, and the Disability Advisory Service has a new mental health team focused on supporting students with a declared mental health disability.

The new strategy builds on this activity, outlining an institution-wide approach the University will take in the future to supporting students during their time at Oxford. It embeds wellbeing into all aspects of students’ university life, from learning and life skills to community, inclusion and support.

It includes commitments including taking mental health and wellbeing into account when designing courses; promoting supportive resources to help students build resilience; encouraging volunteering opportunities that promote wellbeing; promoting inclusive sport and physical activities; and committing additional resources to the University Counselling and Disability Advisory Services.

In addition to student mental health and wellbeing, the University has made a commitment to the wellbeing of its staff in the Strategic Plan. We already provide wellbeing services through the Occupational Health Service – including access to a variety of courses and resources. The University has also signed the Mindful Employer's Charter and is developing a Staff Mental Health Strategy.

Professor Louise Richardson, Vice Chancellor at the University of Oxford, says: 'At Oxford, we are deeply committed to the mental health and wellbeing of everyone who works and studies here. We all have a responsibility for helping our students to thrive and we already provide excellent support through colleges and specialist services.

'The Student Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy sets out the way we intend to expand this support, covering all aspects of students’ university experience. It is a strategy that will help us to respond to a growing nationwide challenge, and we hope that over time it will make a real difference.'

Roisin McCallion, Vice-President, Welfare & Equal Opportunity at Oxford Student Union, says: 'Too often student wellbeing and their academic study are seen as completely separate things.

'The institution-wide approach in the strategy recognises that this is not the case, ensuring that students’ mental health and wellbeing are considered in all decisions.

'The seriousness with which student voice has been taken in the development strategy means that it is has been produced with lived-experience in mind, which we hope will make it all the more effective.'

A new Wellbeing at Oxford hub has launched on the Oxford Students website, outlining the support that is currently available – as well as the measures that we will take to build on our provision. Additional communications and events will follow throughout the academic year.

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