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Mental Health at Work Commitment

On University Mental Health Day in 2020 we shared the good news that the University of Sheffield has signed up to the Mental Health at Work Commitment.

The Mental Health at Work Commitment and the standards, which underpin it, provide a roadmap for employers to achieve better mental health outcomes for their employees. The commitment comprises a set of actions that employers can follow to improve and support the mental health and positive wellbeing of their staff.

These actions are set out in six mental health standards below:

1. Prioritise mental health in the workplace by developing and delivering a systematic programme of activity

2. Proactively ensure work design and organisational culture drive positive mental health outcomes

3. Promote an open culture around mental health

4. Increase organisational confidence and capability

5. Provide mental health tools and support

6. Increase transparency and accountability through internal and external reporting

Mentally Healthy Universities Pilot Programme

Aligned with the Mental Health at Work Commitment, the University of Sheffield has been successful in an application to work in partnership with Mind and participate in their Mentally Healthy Universities Pilot Programme. The programme of work reaches across staff and students and will be delivered in a partnership between Human Resources and colleagues in Student Services.

There are 9 Universities participating with the pilot programme including Sheffield, with the aim of identifying strategies, interventions and cultural change that shifts the focus of mental health support towards prevention and early intervention.

The programme has five main goals of which the following two relate primarily to staff:

Goal 4: Reduce stigma and improve peer support for university staff

The main activity under this goal is to put in place a structure of trained Mental Health Champions across the University.

The aims of this are:

  • Stigma and discrimination are reduced as staff feel better able to speak about their experiences of poor mental health
  • Champions will be more able to support their own and others’ mental health
  • Staff will be more aware of help available at work and externally and will feel more able to seek help if they need it
Goal 5: Make positive changes to the way universities think and act about mental health

The main activity under this goal is to embed the Thriving at Work Standards across working practices and within the environment at the University of Sheffield.

The outcomes of this will be a programme of activity that ensures working practices, environment and interventions are effective in supporting the positive mental health of all staff.

Photo from MIND launch

The Staff Wellbeing Team (pictured above, meeting with national MIND and other universities at the launch of the programme) is currently calling for staff from all across the University who have lived experience of managing their own mental health or in closely supporting others.

We welcome your feedback and input into our proposed ‘Mentally Healthy Universities’ action plan that will lead us to achieve the two goals outlined above. If you are interested in getting involved please contact We would love to hear from you!

Latest News

In May 2020 UUK published a refreshed version of its strategic framework, Stepchange: mentally healthy universities, advocating a whole university approach to mental health, meaning that mental health and wellbeing is considered across every aspect of the university and is part of all practices, policies, courses and cultures.

 A proposal has been agreed by Vice Chancellors Advisory Group (VCAG) to develop a joint Student and Staff Mental Health Strategy, taking a One University approach to supporting mental health in the working and learning environment. For students and staff the Mental Health Strategy will incorporate key objectives of the Student Minds Mental Health Charter, the MIND Mentally Healthy Universities Pilot Programme and the UUK Stepchange Framework.

Mentally Healthy Universities Action Plan

With reference to both the UUK strategic framework and the standards underpinning the Mental Health at Work Commitment, the University Staff Wellbeing Team have developed a Mentally Healthy Universities action plan that will lead us to achieve the two goals outlined above.

Staff Mental Health Champions

Over November 2020 and March 2021 a cohort of our Wellbeing Champions undertook training in championing mental health, provided under the pilot programme by Mind, to supplement the sessions on offer as part of our internal wellbeing champion scheme.

It is envisaged that Wellbeing Champions will as part of their role, take a lead on raising awareness of mental health amongst staff and help challenge mental health stigma, supported with input from both Mind and the University Staff Wellbeing Team. A Wellbeing Champion Forum is currently being developed to help facilitate future collaboration between the 60+ champions across the university.

Staff Mental Health Peer Supporter Pilot Scheme

Starting in April 2021 the University Staff Wellbeing Team are overseeing a pilot using Mind’s expertise and research on peer support to test tailored support specifically for peer supporters at universities.

Peer Supporters are staff with personal experience of poor mental health or of a mental health problem, who provide support to their colleagues. Participating staff will receive training and support from Mind.


Everyone deals with their mental wellbeing differently. Find the best services and activities to support your wellbeing.

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Staff Advice Line: 
0800 028 1947

The staff advice line, provided by an independent external provider, Health Assured, is a means for all staff and their immediate families to access practical help, information, advice and support to address and resolve problems and issues they may be facing at home or at work.

The service is free, independent, confidential and available 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.

You can also visit Health Assured's website (Username: Sheffield, Password: University) for more information and advice.


Mental Wellbeing Webpages

Staff can access a dedicated set of pages and use them to consider their own and others' mental wellbeing.

Designed to be a practical resource, the mental wellbeing webpages provide advice, guidance and signposts to available services, information and activities.


Staff Counselling Service

Also provided by independent external provider, Health Assured, the Staff Counselling Service offers telephone or face to face counselling sessions to staff, where deemed suitable. Staff can access up to 8 counselling sessions free of charge.

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Staff Wellbeing Programme of Activities

The Staff Wellbeing programme provides a variety of free activities for staff, promoting both positive physical and mental wellbeing. 

With a wide range of activities on offer including book group, choir and walking group, there are opportunities for everyone to use their voice for positive wellbeing.

Through the Staff Wellbeing programme, staff also have access to Revitalised which allows you to track your progress and has lots of recipes and fitness programmes.


Staff Networks

Staff networks are inclusive groups run by staff for staff, bringing together people from all faculties, departments and services that identify with the group.

Staff networks fulfil various functions including providing opportunities for social interaction, peer support and personal development.

An image of the Health Assured App homepage

My Healthy Advantage App

Health Assured also have a new Mobile App, My Healthy Advantage which can be downloaded from the App Store or Google Play using the following employer code when prompted: MHA000149.

The app is free for you as an employee to use and offers wellbeing webinars, a daily mood checker, articles and 4 week plans, as well as a live chat function that allows you to speak with a counsellor directly.

The below video also highlights the wellbeing services available to staff at The University of Sheffield:

If you are supporting a student to manage their own mental wellbeing please find some useful webpages here.