The University of St Andrews is the first in Scotland, and only the second university in the UK, to obtain the prestigious APPTS (Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapies Services) from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.
The accreditation, which is awarded in collaboration with the British Psychological Society, recognises the wide range of services including counselling, mental health and wellbeing support offered to students by the University’s Student Services unit.
Ailsa Ritchie, Director of Student Services at the University of St Andrews, said: “Starting university can be a lonely, stressful time for new students but throughout their studies students can face a range of issues, which can be universal, such as loss and bereavement or more specific struggles related to disability or a mental health condition.
“This recognition, from the Royal College of Psychiatrists, of the wide-ranging support and effective psychological services we provide is testament to our dedication to promoting and supporting the good mental health of our students.”
APPTS accreditation specifically assesses the effectiveness and evidence base of the service and recognises effective interventions and efforts to promote recovery.
Accreditation is awarded following a rigorous, externally audited process measured against 56 quality standards assessing whether a service is safe, well-led, effective, caring and responsive to people’s needs.
Professor John Crichton, Consultant Forensic Psychiatrist and Chair of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said: “It is fantastic news that St Andrews University Student Services has picked up this distinguished accreditation for their work with mental health and how wonderful being the first university in Scotland to achieve such an award – leading the way in mental health welfare and wellbeing.
“The APPTS scheme is important in supporting those who may be experiencing mental health difficulties and I would hope to see more universities and colleges follow suit.
“Students may experience stresses and strains with being away from home, difficulty with their studies and peer pressure. This is why it is so important that mental health awareness and training is an issue, kept right at the top of the agenda, within further education.”
Image caption (left to right): University of St Andrews Principal, Professor Sally Mapstone; Director of Student Services, Ailsa Ritchie; and Chair of the Division of Clinical Psychology at the British Psychological Society, Dr Alison Robertson
Issued by the University of St Andrews Communications Office.Awards