UCL Human Resources


World Mental Health Day 2023

27 September 2023

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day, (WMHD), on Tuesday 10 October and this year’s theme is, ‘Mental health is a universal human right’.

World Mental Health Day. 10 October. 2023. Colleague Connect:​  Learn about the support available to you​

The World Health Organisation recognises World Mental Health Day every year on 10 October . This year’s theme is ‘Mental health is a universal human right’. 

Although recognising and supporting mental health is important every day, days like this can help raise awareness and drive positive action. At UCL World Mental Health Day provides an important opportunity to reflect upon working culture and how mental health is perceived and treated within the university. It is a valuable step to ensuring that mental health is treated equitably and with the same respect and dignity as that of a physical injury. 

Our sickness absence data indicates that absence related to mental health is up 5% on the previous year making it a third of all sickness absence reported across UCL, and research indicates that stigma associated with mental health issues is more prevalent in higher education. Significant steps are being taken to address mental health issues across the institution adopting a whole university approach recognising the interconnectivity between student and staff wellbeing UCL’s commitment to continuous improvement in mental health and wellbeing was recognised in 2022 when we were among the first five universities to receive the University Mental Health Charter – a framework designed by thousands of staff and students that serves to shape a future in which mental health and wellbeing are a fundamental aspect embedded into culture within universities. 

Feedback from the University Mental Health Charter staff focus groups highlighted the ‘difficulties of being a large organisation’ and the ‘feelings of isolation in some departments. This can unfortunately create a culture where individuals feel isolated from support.  

UCL’s President and Provost Dr Michael Spence speaks on the importance of World Mental Health Day, saying that, 'now more than ever I want to encourage staff to find out about your local Wellbeing Champions or Mental Health First Aiders.’ 

So, during the week of World Mental Health Day, Wellbeing Champions and Mental Health First Aiders will be hosting local Colleague Connects. These locally led events provide an opportunity for staff to connect with their local Wellbeing Champions and Mental Health First Aiders and to find out about the support available them.

Connects are an important step in addressing the stigma surrounding mental health, while also taking into account the feedback from the University Mental Health Charter of staff feeling isolated within a larger organization. With this in mind, we hope to highlight that support is closer than you might think. 

If you would like to attend a local Colleague Connect, find yours here