SMaRteN is a national research network funded by UK Research and Innovation, led by King's College London, focusing on Student Mental Health in Higher Education. Working with researchers with a range of expertise and key stakeholders across the Higher Education sector, our aim is to improve the understanding of student mental health.
The Higher Education sector has recently seen increases in the levels of mental distress among the student population. Our network aims to shift the focus of discussion away from growing demand for counselling and support services to build an understanding of what institutional and social factors contribute to distress among the student population and how to reduce this so that fewer students feel they need to access professional services.
At the same time, we want to develop an evidence base to support evidence-based approaches to professional services, so that the right services are there for students who need them.
Our network will engage researchers with expertise in areas ranging from education to anthropology, from arts and culture to bio-informatics, from psychology to economics. In bringing together this expertise we hope to take a new look at both the individual and institutional factors that influence student mental health.
The network will focus on understanding student mental health and whole institution approaches improving student mental health. The network will focus on addressing three questions:
Who is the network for?
There is lots of work going on around student mental health in the UK. Some of this is being led by researchers. However, much of this work is being led by student services or university accommodation providers. SMaRteN will provide a platform to support collaboration – enabling ideas and data to be shared across the sector to support stronger research.
If we really want to change student mental health, we need to consider the challenge from different perspectives and engage researchers and stakeholders from many different disciplines and with diverse experience.
We encourage all researchers interested in student mental health to join the network. We also encourage stakeholders, including student services leaders, counsellors, mental health advisors, careers advisors and disability advisors to join the network.
We will be working closely with students throughout all of the network activities. We are establishing a Student-Led Research Team and organising a number of student conferences. All students are welcome to join the network.
Should I join the network?
Network members will receive updates about network activity and early invitations to all network events.
Early Career Researchers will be able to apply for travel bursaries to attend network events.
The network will work to connect researchers with stakeholders, students and HE policy leaders to support research that addresses key questions for the sector.
How do I join the network?
To sign up for network updates or for more information about specific events or activities, complete the registration form on our Join page.
Events and activities
As part of the network we are organising a set of workshops to facilitate knowledge exchange and discuss research questions and findings. The aim of our workshops is to bring together people with diverse perspectives to try to develop new ways of looking at old problems.
We have planned to run the following workshops in the first two years:
The network will be distributing £400k in small research funding awards. Funding will be distributed in four rounds;