What should be included in our Student Mental Health Agreement?
The Student Mental Health Agreement should include all the work that the institution is taking forward for this academic year, which fall under the umbrella of mental health and wellbeing. Examples of this can be found in the document ‘Potential working area’s’. The aim is that this work can be easily reached by students and staff, in one clear easy-to-read document. We’re here to help, please get in touch and we’ll share our thoughts!
Who is responsible for deciding on the working areas of the Student Mental Health Agreement?
The Student Association and institution work together in equal partnership to decide on the working areas. These decisions should be largely influenced by the student engagement exercise, mapping exercise and highlighted priorities. More information on the student engagement exercise and mapping exercise can be found on the ‘Steps to success’ resource.
How long does a Student Mental Health Agreement last for?
The document is active for one academic year. At the end of each academic year, time should be allocated for reflection and planning for updating the SMHA for the upcoming year. The institution and student association sign up to the project each year (usually in July for the upcoming academic year).
Can we use data / feedback that we already have on students to shape the document and its working areas?
Yes! If you already have student feedback or data which helps to back up why these particular working areas are important to you then use this. Consider how long ago this was captured, if it is still relevant and what could have changed during this time. We have a student engagement tool which can be downloaded or sent to you, please find this on our website. Students gave feedback that they didn’t like lengthy surveys, and highlighted three key questions they would like to be asked, from this the tool was developed. Take a look at this resource and think about how you could use it to make sure your SMHA is student led.
When and what support can we get from Think Positive?
Throughout the year, we are here to help! Please drop us an email any time and someone in the team will get back to you. Some institutions get in touch with us every few months, others like to stay in touch more regularly. We’re here to help as much as is useful to you, just get in touch!
By taking part in the Student Mental Health Agreement Project you get access to the following support:
- Consultancy support throughout the year via Skype, phone call, email and 1:1 visits.
- Staff and officers leading on the SMHA at your institutions will be invited to attend FREE Scottish Mental Health First Aid training.
- Invitation to attend the Think Positive events throughout the year, which aim to showcase best practise across the sector.
- Free Think Positive resources such as leaflets and freebies available to order free for your events (see below).
- Access to an online network of peers to support you in your Student Mental Health Agreement project.
- Opportunity to apply for the Small Grant Scheme.
- Feedback on your agreement whilst it’s in draft form.
- Once you have submitted your end of year report, you’ll also receive a certificate.
What does a ‘good’ SMHA look like?
A good SMHA would include all the mental health and wellbeing work being taken forward for the highlighted academic year. It is launched when finalised and promoted in a variety of ways throughout the year. Whilst all SMHA’s are different, they each follow the same 11 step process. Please read the resource ‘Steps to success’ which highlights how to develop a strong SMHA. We’re continually updating the project resources to make it as easy as possible for you to develop a SMHA, so read through those that are currently available and check back at the website for new ones.
When does each step on the ‘steps to success’ resource need to take place?
Institutions across Scotland who take part in the project face a range of opportunities and challenges, they have a variety of resources, funding, time and staff available, therefore the timeline for the work varies. The steps to success resource is purposely not timebound, other than the end of year report which is due in May. We believe greater focus should be placed on the steps, implementation and final document being correct and reflective of the work taking place, rather than rushed to launch. We strongly recommend following your first planning meeting to set a draft timeline of the steps for your institution.
What if we haven’t completed the work in time for submitting the end of year report?
There is no expectation that all of the working area’s will be completed for the end of year report. This report is an opportunity to reflect on the progress made so far, highlight shared learning and future opportunities to help with planning for the following year.
How would our SMHA and mental health strategy work together?
A mental health strategy usually highlights the broad goals or aims which the institution wants to develop over a longer period. The SMHA is the on the ground work, broken down into actions for the year which will help to achieve the overarching aims. Guidance from the SFC also asks that institutions include having a SMHA in their mental health strategy. You may choose to review or create a mental health strategy as one of your SMHA working areas.
Does the Student Association need to be affiliated with NUS to take part in the project?
No, whilst the project is hosted by NUS Scotland, because it is externally funded Student Association’s do not need to be affiliated in order to take part.