University of the Arts London (UAL) has announced that it is working with the Positive Group to equip staff and students with evidenced tools and techniques to optimise their psychological health and wellbeing.

The announcement of the new initiative coincides with World Mental Health Day (10th October), which this year is themed around young people and mental health in a changing world. Psychological health problems within young people in the UK are rising. This programme will work to normalise mental health, reduce stigma and give staff and students the cognitive skills to adapt in a changing and pressurised world.

It will include training for 80 UAL staff across its six colleges, as well as a programme for 20 PHD students, with a ‘train the trainer’ approach designed to drive sustainable positive change.

The programme will equip UAL staff and students with knowledge and tools from psychology and neuroscience to improve emotional literacy, resilience, psychological health and wellbeing. The focus is on increasing awareness and helping individuals build positive protective everyday habits that enhance psychological health, wellbeing and performance.

Once trained, staff will be supported to apply the tools with colleagues and students across the university. The programme is enhanced by the Positive App, providing staff and students with access to interactive tools and guided micro learning, making the knowledge and tools easily and widely accessible.


Positive Group works with businesses, schools and higher education institutions globally. Their programmes translate research from psychology, neuroscience and the medical sciences into proactive practical tools and techniques that positively change the way individuals and teams think, feel and behave.

Mark Crawley, UAL’s Dean of Students and Lead Safeguarding Officer said:

“Wellbeing is a challenge for society and universities, and in very particular ways for highly creative people. The Positive programme will help us to provide UAL staff and students with the techniques, life skills and confidence to support themselves and others, improving health, happiness and learning outcomes.”

It is anticipated that the programme will begin in December this year.


Vincent Hart Central Saint Martins BA18 graduate Photo by InPress Photography

Vincent Hart Central Saint Martins BA18 graduate Photo by InPress Photography

UAL has recently doubled the size of its Counselling and Health Advice service and has a higher than average mental health professional/student ratio of 1:1135 (HEPI, 2016). 42 front-line staff have recently qualified as mental health first aiders working across our sites.

UAL has 16 full-time equivalent mental health professionals employed across the university with a further five posts planned. As well as qualified counsellors and counselling psychologists, the UAL team has CBT practitioners, social workers, mental health nurses and a clinical nurse.

Earlier this year UAL joined forces with Vice for an evening of discussion on xanax and young people’s mental health, which included a panel discussion attended by Labour MP Bambos Charalambous. And this week supported the ‘Where’s Your Head At’ campaign led by Bauer Media which calls for a change in the law to require every UK workplace and college to provide trained mental health first aiders on site.

Find out more about Positive Group’s work.