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BUCS announce release of University Sport & Mental Health resource in line with University Mental Health Day 02/03/2017

On University Mental Health Day 2017, BUCS are pleased to announce the launch of a new resource to support university staff and students' mental wellbeing through sport and physical activity.

BUCS have been working in partnership with Student Minds since 2014, with this new University Sport & Mental Health resource now intended to help student leaders and staff across the HE sector support student mental health.

Developed with support from member institutions and expert partners alike, the resource will increase readers' knowledge about student mental health, develop their understanding of how to design sport programmes for students experiencing mental health difficulties, and share best practice from universities working to improve mental health through sport.

Mental Health resource

Jon Brookstein, Head of Development at BUCS commented: “With mental wellbeing one of the five key outcomes within DCMS’ Sporting Future: A New Strategy for an Active Nation, we’re delighted to launch this resource in partnership with Student Minds ahead of University Mental Health Day 2017.

Sport and physical activity has a significant role to play in supporting individuals’ mental wellbeing, and this resource has been designed to educate and empower university students and staff to maximise its impact. We hope that it will provide practical support to those operating within university sport to continue the invaluable, everyday engagements which support students mental wellbeing at university.

Launching this resource today, on University Mental Health Day 2017, is particularly apt, with this year's theme being 'Active Mental Health'. The annual day of awareness is all about maintaining positive mental health for university staff and students, with this year's day of action focusing on how being physically active can support your mental health and wellbeing. Keep up to date with today's activity from universities across the UK, via #UniMentalHealthDay.

Approximately a third of students experience mental health difficulties, but we can all benefit from building our mental health literacy. Physical activity is proven to have a positive effect on mental wellbeing, and using participation in sport and physical activity, students and staff across Higher Education can support students’ mental health, enhancing their university experience and improving their mental wellbeing.

Rosie Tressler, Chief Executive of Student Minds also commented: During our work with BUCS, university sports staff and students over the last three years, we have seen just how important it is for the HE sport community to feel equipped with the knowledge and resources to look after their own mental health and to create a supportive university sport culture. Staff roles with a high amount of contact with students such as coaches, match administrators and development officers play an important role within a whole-university strategic approach to supporting student health.

This resource aims to support the HE sports sector to reflect on their current practice, implement new projects and add to the various fantastic examples of good practice we've seen in the sector. We are proud to have created this resource with the support from various experts, students and BUCS, who are continually raising the bar with their aim of creating a safe and supportive culture within HE sport.

The University Sport and Mental Health resource shares information on a series of mental health diagnoses, university case studies and guidance for club committees, also featuring a section about body image written by eating disorder support charity Anorexia & Bulimia Care.

The resource is the fourth such document which BUCS have developed to support universities across the UK, following the launch of a Student Coaching & Volunteering guide, developed in partnership with sports coach UK, two weeks ago. This follows the launch of BUCS' Time to Get Inclusive and Activating Women's Sport in Higher Education resources in 2015.

If you have any questions about University Mental Health Day, or BUCS' work with Student Minds to engage universities working to support students' mental health and wellbeing, please contact Ben Jessup.

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