Unified: a digital solution to reduce referral time towards mental health services in higher education institutions
My research for the past year has been focused on the student support services at Universities across the UK, and the systems they operate upon. Specifically, I have been researching the waiting times between students applying for help, and their first face-to-face appointment. The original focus of my research was in to the accessibility of services, and the ease of application. I have co-founded a student health company called Unified, having been accepted on to We Are Nova’s start up school. I am developing a digital solution which higher education institutions can implement, to reduce the processing and referral time for services which are under increasingly high demand on a national scale
With rising attrition and declining student mental health, peer support is a growing area of interest for many higher education institutions. Despite being a readily used term, its meaning differs according to the institution running the programme, making it difficult to share best practice in the sector. The aim of this work is to create a shared language and understanding of peer support so that universities can improve their peer support structures in a consistent and strategic way.
Many factors suggested as causing student mental distress (like the transition from home/school to university) have been true for generations of students, so are unlikely to explain why reported distress has increased.
That’s why, in our research, we’re exploring what has changed in young people’s lives that might explain the increase. We’re focusing in particular on what is happening to young people before they go to university – and would welcome any feedback on this from fellow researchers.
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?