The Recovery-Friendly University pledge was developed by Recovery Connections, a charitable organisation which offers ongoing and urgent support to local people in recovery.
It outlines how the University will raise awareness around recovery; support students and their families; provide safe, welcoming spaces and a recovery hub on campus; and remove barriers to students pursuing higher education and seeking support.
Recovery spans a wide range of areas, including alcohol, drugs, gambling and shopping.
All kinds of dependence issues can affect mood, behaviour and relationships, making it a major factor in mental and physical health and wellbeing.
Recovery Connections also welcomes students who may have grown up around addiction and could benefit from a safe space to talk.
Teesside University was the first higher education institution to work with Recovery Connections and has done so for a number of years to improve support for students.
The organisation already has a strong presence on campus. Its Free Hot Coffee Bike is in Campus Heart every Monday between 12.00pm-2.00pm, offering free drinks to any student in exchange for a short chat about recovery.
It also hosts drop-in sessions in the Library every Tuesday and Thursday between 10.30am-12.30pm, as well as weekly, online drop-in sessions between 6.00pm-7.00pm on Wednesdays.
Signing the Recovery-Friendly University pledge is the latest move in the ongoing partnership between Teesside University and Recovery Connections.
Dr Jo Heaton-Marriott, Executive Director of Communications and Development at Teesside University, has joined the Recovery College advisory board.
Teesside was the first university in the UK to begin embedding this work into its already comprehensive mental health and wellbeing support services.
She said: “It is important to us that all students feel safe, welcomed and supported here at Teesside University, including those in recovery.
“We take our duty of care very seriously and were proud to formalise our commitment to helping those affected by signing the Recovery-Friendly Campus pledge.
“We will be working with Recovery Connections to ensure that recovery is valued and celebrated, challenging the stigma that those in recovery often face.”
As well as helping students, Recovery Connections delivers training and shares best practice with staff in student-facing support roles.
Mal Fitzgerald, Deputy Director for Student Wellbeing and Welfare in Teesside University’s Student and Library Services, added: “As a University, we prioritise the wellbeing of students and offer support with a range of issues, from relationships and childcare to housing and finance.
“The training delivered by Recovery Connections ensures that we can recognise the needs of those in recovery and feel confident in providing the best possible help.”
Recovery Connections CEO Dot Smith said: “We're delighted to see Teesside University signing the Recovery Friendly Pledge - a commitment to ten, simple steps that will reduce barriers to university for people in recovery.
“Teesside was the first university in the UK to begin embedding this work into its already comprehensive mental health and wellbeing support services.
“Signing the pledge demonstrates that students in recovery are welcomed, supported, and can focus on both their studies and recovery while at the University.”
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North East Post, Web, 05/12/2023 Teesside University was the first higher education institution to work with Recovery Connections and has done so for a number of years to improve support for students.
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