University of St Andrews given prestigious accreditation for student support

University of St Andrews principal Professor Sally Mapstone and director of Student Services Ailsa Ritchie with Dr Alison Robertson, chairwoman of the Division of Clinical Psychology at the British Psychological Society
University of St Andrews principal Professor Sally Mapstone and director of Student Services Ailsa Ritchie with Dr Alison Robertson, chairwoman of the Division of Clinical Psychology at the British Psychological Society

The University of St Andrews is the first in Scotland, and only the second in the UK, to obtain the prestigious accreditation from the Royal College of Psychiatrists.

APPTS (Accreditation Programme for Psychological Therapies Services), 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, 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 that are 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 chairman of the Royal College of Psychiatrists in Scotland, said: “It is fantastic that the university’s 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.”