Overview

Coming Soon
Online Conference

The Higher Education Staff Health and Wellbeing Forum 2021 will assess leading practical solutions in supporting improved health, safety and wellbeing outcomes for staff across the higher education sector. The Forum will explore the unprecedented pressures facing staff as a result of the Covid-19 crisis with high workloads, mental health challenges as a result of isolation and concerns over health and safety on campus.

This Forum will provide practical support in developing high impact strategies to support improved wellbeing interventions and will assess how universities support the workforce to transition to the “new normal” in the Covid-19 era.

Policy Background

In recent years there has been a 155% rise in staff accessing counselling according to a 2020 HEPI report. With increasing workloads triggering a mental health crisis for lecturers, tutors and support services there is a need to ensure sufficient interventions and provision for staff across Higher Education.

In April 2020 HEPI published its report ‘Pressure Vessels II: An update on mental health among higher education staff in the UK’, findings show that from 2016 to 2018 there was an increase of 16% in counselling at 14 universities for which data was collected. During the same period there was a 19% increase in occupational health referrals at 16 universities for which data was collected. The figures also demonstrated that women were highly more likely to use the counselling or occupational health services, with the largest proportion of individuals being referred non-academic staff.

Universities UK stress the need for a whole university approach to mental health and wellbeing, as outlined in their ‘Stepchange’ Framework, published in May 2020. Their accompanying self-assessment tool helps university leaders to plan and implement an approach so that all aspects of university life promote and support student and staff mental health. This highlights the intrinsic link between staff and student wellbeing, which is also outlined in ‘The University Mental Health Charter’ published by Student Minds in 2019. The Charter also provides a set of principles to support universities across the UK in making mental health a university-wide priority. A Charter Award Scheme, being developed in 2020, will recognise and reward universities that promote and demonstrate good practice in mental health.

Covid-19 has had a massive impact on staff wellbeing, with increased pressure on teaching and learning services and support staff. It has also resulted in increased workload with staff having to adapt their teaching to online learning as well as covering for those who are unwell or shielding. This, in additional to potential job cuts and losses has caused a lot of uncertainty and insecurity for staff in the Higher Education Sector. In May 2020 Student Minds published ‘Planning for a Sustainable Future: the importance of university mental health in uncertain times’, outlining the importance of staff and student mental health remaining at the heart of all decision making whilst universities plan for the next phase of Covid-19 response and recovery.

It is clear that in order to ensure the long-term wellbeing of university staff, leadership teams need to undertake a whole university approach to mental health and wellbeing. It is only through a coordinated review and update of mental health and wellbeing provision within institutions, that universities will be able to tackle the mental health crisis staff are experiencing. This is particularly pertinent as universities respond and recover from the impacts of Covid-19, manage redundancy processes and look after their staff, with staff health and wellbeing crucial for a return to normality at universities across the country.

Watch this video to find out more about the online event experience.

Key Features of an Online IG Event

  • Match making networking and live delegate meet ups
  • Replay functions so you never miss a session
  • Live chat, questioning and polling tools
  • Real time resources and presentations
  • A next generation conference engagement platform
  • Topic based discussion groups

Key Speakers

Sarah van Zoelen photo
Sarah van Zoelen
Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager
Loughborough University
Dr Steve Boorman CBE photo
Dr Steve Boorman CBE
Chair
Council for Work and Health

Agenda

  • Tuesday 23rd
  • Wednesday 24th
9:30 am
Online Login and Registration

Throughout the Conference you will be able to make use of:

  • One on one networking opportunities and live delegate meet ups
  • Replay functions so you never miss a session
  • Live chat, questioning and polling tools
  • Real time resources and presentations
  • A next generation conference engagement platform
9:40 am
Your Tour of the Online Conference Platform

Before proceedings get underway, this short explainer session will explore how you can get the most out of our new next generation Conference platform.

The IG Higher Education Team will run through how to make virtual connections, creating networking meet ups, accessing content on demand and how to use our new Q&A, chat functions and virtual polling tools.

9:50 am
9:50 am Chair's Welcome Address

Welcome to Day 1 of the Higher Education Staff Health and Wellbeing Forum. We have designed this conference with virtual in mind from the outset and therefore have designed the day to be as practical and solutions focused as possible for you.

Some of the key themes and challenges that we will be looking at solutions to across the day will include:

  • Developing a university wide approach to staff health and wellbeing
  • Embedding a culture of mental health and wellbeing across your organisations
Dr Liz Morrish
Dr Liz Morrish
Author, HEPI Occasional Paper 'Pressure Vessels' and Visiting Fellow
York St John University
Confirmed
Theme 1 – Leadership Strategies: Adopting Whole University Approach
10:00 am
Universities UK Guidance Update: A Whole University Approach so Staff Health and Wellbeing
  • Exploring Universities UK ‘Stepchange: Mentally Healthy Universities’ Strategic Framework, Published in May 2020, which outlines a whole university approach to mental health and wellbeing at universities
  • Outlining how mental health is foundational to all aspects of university life, for both students and staff, to enable them to thrive and reach their full potential
  • Analysing mental health and wellbeing provision for staff at your university using the UUK Self-Assessment Tool and using it to plan and implement a whole university approach
  • Supporting universities to develop and implement a strategy that aligns staff and student mental health
Professor Julia Buckingham CBE
Professor Julia Buckingham CBE
President
Universities UK
Invited
10:20 am
Interactive Questions and Answers Session
11:00 am
University Insights Sessions: Top Tips for Effective Partnership Working to Improve Staff Wellbeing

Programme: ‘Mentally Healthy Universities’

A programme delivered in partnership between Mind, Goldman Sachs Gives and the University of Bristol

Objective: To support and improve the mental health and wellbeing of staff working at the University of Bristol

Learning Outcomes:

  • Learn how the charity Mind work in partnership with the university to ensure that the university meet the Mental Health and Work Commitment
  • Learn how the university set up a network of Staff Mental Health Champions and Mental Health Peer Supporters that provide training and support for university staff
  • Learn from the findings of the Interim Evaluation Year One report and improvements to be made for the second year of the programme including Covid-19 interventions and adjustments
  • Learn how to tackle common challenges faced across the sector with regards to staff wellbeing and put your challenges to the speaker and your peers
Dr Simon Swales
Dr Simon Swales
Head of Academic Staff Development
University of Bristol
Invited
Charlotte Randomly
Charlotte Randomly
Mentally Healthy Universities Project Coordinator
Bristol Mind
Invited
11:20 am
Interactive Questions and Answers Session
11:30 am
Break, Virtual Networking and Live Delegate Meet Ups

Your opportunity to make the most of the virtual platform, meet up with fellow delegates, make connections and tour our real-time resources and content.

Don’t forget if you’ve missed a session, you can use our replay functions, so you can watch all the content on demand at a time that suits you.

Theme 2: Embedding a Culture of Mental Health and Wellbeing in Your Organisation
11:40 am
Panel Discussion: How To Embed Mental Health and Wellbeing within University Culture

Panel members will discuss how to provide an inclusive and supportive environment for staff, so that mental health support becomes part of the normal day to day working culture.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to have their challenges discussed by the panel in an attempt to provide a practical solutions-focused discussion.

Discussion points will include:

  • Sharing strategies for making staff feel safe in raising concerns about their mental health and wellbeing
  • Discussing initiatives for developing a university wide culture of inclusivity and an environment in which mental health and wellbeing support is part of the norm
  • Outlining best practice for support which allows staff to look after their own wellbeing and to be in a better position to support other staff members and students
  • Exploring strategies for tackling mental health and wellbeing stigma in universities
Rebecca Dunn
Rebecca Dunn
Head of Mental Health Strategy
Department of Health and Social Care
Invited
Professor Mark Dooris
Professor Mark Dooris
Co-Chair
The UK Healthy Universities Network
Confirmed
Sinead Mc Brearty
Sinead Mc Brearty
Chief Executive
Education Support
Confirmed
Karen Smith
Karen Smith
Head of Workplace Wellbeing
UCL
Invited
12:20 pm
Roundtable Discussions

Roundtable A: Helping Students by Helping Yourself

In this round table the discussion will focus on strategies you can implement to support staff wellbeing in order to help staff provide better support for students.

Discuss:

  • The link between student and staff wellbeing and the importance of this relationship for the university environment
  • How senior leaders can support staff who have been affected by wellbeing concerns raised by students
  • Effective strategies for staff to use when helping students to understand boundaries, to better protect their own wellbeing as well as that of the student

Professor Tim O’Brien, Visiting Fellow Psychology and Human Development, UCL Institute of Education (invited)

Roundtable B: Effective Workload Management

This roundtable will focus on sharing effective workload management strategies, in order to reduce pressure and stress on HE staff.

Discuss:

  • How to support staff who experience stress because of workload pressure
  • Strategies for balancing workload, to prevent burnout and improve wellbeing
  • New challenges with workload management presented by Covid-19 and the move to remote working and online learning

Paul Bridge, Head of Higher Education, University and College Union (invited)

Professor Tim O’Brien
Professor Tim O’Brien
Visiting Fellow Psychology and Human Development
UCL Institute of Education
Invited
Paul Bridge
Paul Bridge
Head of Higher Education
University and College Union
Invited
1:00 pm
Chair’s Closing Address

*Programme Subject to Change

9:40 am
Conference Login and Accessing the Online Platform

Throughout the Conference you will be able to make use of:

  • Match making networking and live delegate meet ups
  • Replay functions so you never miss a session
  • Live chat, questioning and polling tools
  • Real time resources and presentations
  • A next generation conference engagement platform
9:50 am
Chair's Welcome Address

Welcome to Day 2 of the Higher Education Staff Health and Wellbeing Forum. We have designed this conference with virtual in mind from the outset and therefore have designed the day to be as practical and solutions focused as possible for you.

Some of the key themes and challenges that we will be looking at solutions to across the day will include:

  • Covid-19; what has been the impact on staff and how should HE institutions respond?
  • Effective interventions and provisions for supporting staff health and wellbeing
Dr Steve Boorman CBE
Dr Steve Boorman CBE
Chair
Council for Work and Health
Confirmed
10:00 am
Morning Keynote Address - Student Minds Mental Health Charter Update: Showcasing Staff Mental Health Best Practice
  • Outlining the work HEI’s should be doing in line with the University Mental Health Charter and the Charter Award scheme to promote and demonstrate good practice for staff mental health and wellbeing provision
  • Understanding how universities can develop and foster a workplace culture which supports staff wellbeing, so staff feel confident in expressing problems without fear or judgement
  • Learning how to work with your staff to ensure that they feel psychologically safe by encouraging them to spend time on work which is meaningful to them, helping to boost innovation and productivity
  • Highlighting how senior leaders can equip managers and leaders with the skills and knowledge to support mental health and wellbeing within their teams
Leigh Spanner
Leigh Spanner
Sector Improvement Lead
Student Minds
Confirmed
10:20 am
Interactive Questions and Answers Session
Theme 3 – Staff Health and Wellbeing in Times of Covid-19
10:30 am
Covid-19 Panel Discussion: Learning How to Support Staff Throughout the Pandemic

During this panel discussion, panellists will discuss how universities can ensure the mental health of staff is still a priority when making strategic decisions during these uncertain times.

Attendees will also have the opportunity to have their challenges discussed by the panel in an attempt to provide a practical solutions-focused discussion.

Key discussion points will include:

  • Planning for a sustainable future which protects the mental health, wellbeing and safety of staff despite changing working environments and educational needs
  • Discussing the short term and long-term impact of lockdown and Covid-19 on staff
  • Sharing strategies for staff to be able to effectively support themselves and students during these uncertain times and for keeping them safe as they look at returning to campus
  • Understanding staff concerns which have developed as a result of Covid-19 and resulted in additional stress, including job security fears, redesigning the curriculum for online delivery and increased workload
Lucy Thorpe
Lucy Thorpe
Head of Policy
Mental Health Foundation
Invited
Karen Markes
Karen Markes
Occupation Health Manager
University of Exeter
Invited
Hannah Abrahams
Hannah Abrahams
Senior Mental Health Adviser
City University of London
Invited
11:10 am
Break, Virtual Networking and Live Delegate Meet Ups

Your opportunity to make the most of the virtual platform, meet up with fellow delegates, make connections and tour our real-time resources and content.

Don’t forget if you’ve missed a session, you can use our replay functions, so you can watch all the content on demand at a time that suits you.

Theme 4 – Designing and Implementing Effective Health and Wellbeing Interventions
11:20 am
Case Study: Developing an Outstanding Occupational Health Service for Staff
  • Exploring how Loughborough University transformed its Occupational Health Service which had previously been seen by employees as of no value and with little credibility
  • Showcasing how the university managed to get a 300% increase in referrals and understanding common parallels that other HEI’s can implement within their own organisation
  • Creating a health and wellbeing steering group which works alongside an external provider to provide employee assistance programmes
  • Sharing how the university designed a bespoke mental health and wellbeing programme for staff which was launched during the Covid-19 lockdown

Winner of the Occupational Health Team of the Year at the Occupational Health and Wellbeing Awards 2020

Sarah van Zoelen
Sarah van Zoelen
Occupational Health and Wellbeing Manager
Loughborough University
Confirmed
11:40 am
Interactive Question and Answers Session
11:50 am
Workshop: Mental Health and Wellbeing Interventions for HE Staff

This workshop will help you develop practical interventions and support mechanisms for supporting the mental health and wellbeing of your staff and colleagues. You will have the opportunity to work alongside the trainer and put your most challenging questions to him to ensure you leave at the end of the day having come away with clear takeaways that can be implemented within your university.

  • Learn how to equip managers and leaders with the knowledge, skills, and confidence to support good wellbeing within their teams
  • Learn how to implement effective support mechanisms for your staff such as counselling and occupational health services
  • Learn how to identify and overcome the core challenges affecting your staffs mental health and wellbeing including; workload, working environment, finances, contract terms and general stress
  • Learn how to embed health and wellbeing practices, policies, courses and cultures across your university
Andrew Berrie
Andrew Berrie
Head of Workplace Wellbeing Programmes (Delivery)
Mind
Invited
12:50 pm
Chair’s Closing Address

*Programme Subject to Change

Audience

This Conference is designed specifically for the higher education sector. Those in attendance will include:

  • Heads of HR
  • Heads of Workplace Wellbeing
  • Occupation Health and Wellbeing Managers
  • Mental Health Advisers
  • Department Heads
  • Pro-Vice-Chancellors
  • Deans and Associate Deans
  • Heads of Counselling

Pricing

  • Online Conference (HE and Public Sectors)
    £295 + VAT
  • Online Conference (Voluntary Sector Small < £1m Income)
    £245 + VAT
  • Online Conference (Voluntary Sector Large > £1m Income)
    £195 + VAT
  • Online Conference (Private Sector)
    £395 + VAT