About us

What is the Charter Mark?

The Sunderland Mental Health Charter Mark (MHCM) is an initiative created by YP at the 2015 Youth Parliament, when 6,195 YP voted MH their top issue at the Make Your Mark consultation.  Youth Parliament representatives met with the CAMH Partnership to share their ideas, resulting in the implementation of the MHCM by the CAMH Partnership led by a head teacher.  The scheme is the first nationally to see YP creating a city-wide approach to improving MH practice in schools. 


The MHCM was launched in 2018.  The MHCM is a sustainable approach to tackling MH issues in educational settings.  Once schools achieve bronze status, they can undertake assessments of other educational establishments, creating a peer to peer approach of continuous professional development.  The MHCM requires educational establishments to have a named MH Lead. 



Our aim is to continue the roll out of the Charter Mark from the 17 schools currently involved, to all schools in Sunderland.

84 Primary, 20 Secondary, 9 Nursery, 9 Special, PVI Early Years Settings, Young Carers, 2 College FE/ Sixth Form and University, and also to Children’s Homes.


The background

The key stages in the development of the project:

· 2015 Sunderland Youth Parliament hosts the Make your Mark consultation (the UK’s largest Youth Consultation); 6,195 young people aged 11-18 vote.

· Top 5 issues then debated in the Young People’s State of the City Debate where over 100 young people attended from across 15 schools.

 · Issue voted as most important was Mental Health. SYP embraced this issue and set about creating an action plan of activities.

 · SYP met with Mental Health Professionals from across the city including CAMHS, CYPS and Washington Mind to put all their concerns across.

· The group decided that the creation of a Mental Health Charter Mark may work in schools, so set about creating one.

· Drafted information shared with the Thriving and Coping Workstream.

 · Thriving and Coping group established a draft document, using headings and sections that had been devised by SYP.



Bronze accredited schools were invited to submit children’s artwork to be used as the logo for the Charter Mark. Two pieces were shortlisted by the Thriving and Coping group. These were then shared with SYP, who chose the overall favourite. This will be designed and a logo created. Currently we are exploring how children and young people can continue to be involved in the Charter in some form.


The future:

A Second draft of the Charter Mark will be created in 2019. The age range and settings of the Charter Mark will be expanded. This will increase the reach and impact of the Charter Mark, with more schools in Sunderland implementing the positive approaches to CYP mental health and wellbeing that are required to achieve an award. Those schools already holding the Bronze Award will be supported to achieve Silver and Gold. In addition, they will work on adapting and developing the Charter Mark so that it is suitable for other settings in the city – Children’s Homes, PVI Early Years Settings, Young Carers, College / Sixth Form and University, increasing the upper age limit that the impact of the Charter Mark reaches.


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