June 2022 is Pride Month in the UK, an opportunity to celebrate LGBTQ+ identities, but also recognise inequalities of experiences for these communities. We highlight below a range of resources and research to do with mental health and wellbeing in LGBTQ+ young people and students and end with some reflections on the current situation within UK HE.
There is concerning evidence that only 20% of UK students struggling with their mental health during the pandemic sought help (National Union of Students, 2020). Mental health problems are ultimately associated with negative outcomes, including lower grades (Duffy et al., 2020)
Yet, there is a substantial gap between need for help and access to it. It’s hard to ask for help, and even when help is sought, students often have to wait for it to start and disengagement is common.
Nebiyah Dyer and Danielle Chavrimootoo Kingston University
My name is Nebiyah Dyer I am a Graduate Inclusion Intern on the Culturally Responsive Mental Health and Wellbeing project at Kingston University. My work supports the production of literature, university data, and implementation strategies which will be used to embed culturally sensitive mental health literacies into the curriculum.
I have been working with Danielle Chavrimootoo Senior Lecturer in Teaching and Learning at Kingston University. Danielle’s work focuses on Inclusive Curriculum Projects, she is also The Equality Diversity and Inclusion Lead for the Doctorate in Clinical Psychology and Doctoral Candidate at Lancaster University.
We are working towards training academic staff on how to embed culturally responsive mental health and wellbeing literacies into the curriculum.
Anne-Laure Le Cunff, PhD candidate at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology & Neuroscience, King’s College London
The brain has different kinds of memory, including sensory memory, working memory, and long-term memory. Information may only be stored in long-term memory after first being processed by working memory. However, working memory is inherently limited in capacity and duration. Cognitive load refers to the used amount of working memory resources, which may affect the way we learn.
GUEST POST: Pascal Landindome Navelle, FRSPH
Postgraduate Researcher, Teesside University
Founder: Mind ‘N’ Health Foundation Ghana
Pascal Landindome Navelle is the founder of Mind 'N' Health Foundation Ghana.
Pascal's two big priorities for starting a foundation were to increase mental health literacy through advocacy and contribute his bid in developing the mental health system within his home country, Ghana.
GUEST POST: Dr. Eithne Hunt, Academic Advisor to the UCC Graduate Attributes Programme
"To realise student success, higher education institutions must take into account that the majority (88% in 2017/2018) (HEA, 2018) of their students are still adolescents, without fully developed cognitive, social, emotional and self-regulatory capacities, living and learning in a socio-cultural environment that offers less external regulation than ever before. The knowledge that many students in higher education are in developmental transition spotlights opportunities to construct academic and campus contexts that supports this transition.
Drawing on this knowledge, and expertise in occupational science/therapy, psychology and neuroscience, the ‘DOTS – Developmental Opportunities for Transitions in Students’ seminar sought to inform stakeholders of the biobehavioural transitions that influence undergraduate wellbeing and academic achievement in the current socio-cultural climate."
GUEST POST: Madeleine Siniscalchi, Student Research Partner at the Greater Manchester Universities Student Mental Health Service
My name is Madeleine Siniscalchi and I'm working as part of a team to evaluate the Greater Manchester Universities' Student Mental Health Service. I've written about institutional partnerships and student co-production through the lens of our project, with the link being partnership working.
Launch announcement: New SMaRteN Student Cohorts project will coordinate longitudinal wellbeing research across UK universities and support researchers to setup their own cohort studies
The SMaRteN Student Cohorts website has been launched!
There is limited robust data about mental health and wellbeing of university students. We don’t know what are the rates of mental health problems, what are the risk and protective factors, and what are the best strategies to intervene, to prevent, to detect difficulties, and to provide support. Longitudinal cohort studies are becoming a popular research design and UK universities are beginning to take advantage of this method to tackle the problem of wellbeing among the student population. If implemented effectively, cohorts allow us to efficiently follow up a population over time, to understand changes in wellbeing, to link with external data sources, and to embed trials within the cohort for rapid evaluation.
Studying at university in this current climate has been a drastic change. With university courses being moved online nationwide, as well as social events such as university society meetups and simply going out with friends, students have been made to adapt to a way of learning that they have never experienced before. Staying at home and being concerned with the sudden change in university learning have caused students to experience low energy and anxiety. I had the opportunity to speak to Kath Caffrey from the Charlie Waller Trust about how this change in learning at university has affected students and their mental health. She provided five tips for dealing with low energy and anxiety while studying online at university.
As evidence grows that many researchers experience poor mental health, it is becoming imperative to understand the experiences of those who may be offering support to these individuals. Indeed, without this knowledge it is difficult to appropriately support, train and value those who help colleagues going through mental health difficulties.
We are using this blog to help connect stakeholders across Higher Education interested in student mental health. If you have a project you are working on or an idea you'd like to develop, why not write your own blog post for us?