Bristol University receives award recognising its ‘excellent’ mental health care

At the university where 14 students have died by suicide since 2018

The University of Bristol has received the University Mental Health Charter Award, becoming one of the first universities to do so. 

Mental Health charity Student Minds granted the award on account of Bristol University’s “strong, structured, whole-university approach towards improving mental health and wellbeing across the whole community”, particularly over the last two to three years. 

Following what the University has described as a “robust, evidence-based assessment”, it was determined that, whilst not reaching “gold standard”, the University’s mental health services demonstrate “good practice, managing risk acceptably”.

The Assessment Team “identified a number of instances of excellent and sector-leading practice” across 18 areas of mental health support “from its support services and proactive interventions to its inclusivity and accommodation”. 

The University claims that it remains committed to these standards and will now submit an annual progress report to Student Minds, after five years, it can apply for a higher level award. 

The University of Bristol has expressed its delight, saying that it was “proud to achieve this Award, which recognises the continued hard work of hundreds of staff and students”. 

The University appreciates, however, that “there is more to be done and we will keep working to do the best for our community”. 

The award comes against the backdrop of Bristol University’s well publicised number of student deaths. Figures from May show since 2018, 14 students have died by suicide. In the same time period, five UWE students died by suicide.

A recent judgement ruling found that discrimination on behalf of Bristol University led to the death of student Natasha Abrahart.

Judge Alex Ralton found the university breached its duties to Natasha, by failing to adjust the way it assessed the student who had chronic Social Anxiety Disorder. This constituted indirect disability discrimination, with the breaches ultimately leading to her death.

via SWNS

Sarah Purdy, the University’s Pro Vice Chancellor for Student Experience said: “The University has been on a journey to improve its mental health support for students. Though that journey is far from complete we are proud to achieve this award, which recognises the continued hard work of hundreds of staff and students. 

“I would like to thank them all not, sincerely, for everything they do – from our staff in schools, wellbeing and residential life advisors, disability support workers and counsellors, to the students who offer us new ideas and support each other on a daily basis. This award is for you.”

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