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.
The student lifestyle in January 2021 is unrecognisable compared to what it was a year ago. Lectures and seminars are online, socialising is basically limited to cold and rainy walks, and the number of students living at home has risen significantly. Naturally, this has all taken a toll on the mental health of students around the country. I recently got the opportunity to chat with Dominic Smithies from Student Minds about this topic, and he identified four main ways in which the pandemic has impacted students’ mental wellbeing.
Might different types of motivation for going to university influence student mental health?
Intrinsic motivation has been described as the ‘inherent tendency to seek out novelty and challenges, to extend and exercise one’s capabilities, to explore, and to learn’.1 Students who go to university primarily to continue their learning and development and to be intellectually challenged and stimulated are therefore intrinsically motivated.
Eadie and Josh from the Student Research Team talk about the session they’re planning at this year’s conference, lifting the lid on Mental Health Literacy.
So what is mental health literacy (MHL)?
Emilie and Elizabeth from the Student Research Team talk about the session they’re planning at this year’s conference, and explain why it’s not to be missed..
We are excited to be a part of the Student Mental Health Partnerships project! As a Student Fellow, I have been really enjoying working closely with Kirsty, our research coordinator. Our student co-production idea plays a small part in the much wider overall Student Mental Health Partnerships project, funded by Office for Students and led by the University of the West of England (UWE). These partnerships have emerged in response to the fivefold increase in students declaring their mental health concerns over recent years. The aim of this project is to develop partnerships between seven universities and the NHS for students mental health.
We know that, for all of us as social beings, no matter what our age, social support and social contact is incredibly important for wellbeing. Social life has really important functions for students who are young adults starting out at university. At that transitional life stage, it is important share experiences with peers, and to establish social connections. Therefore, the potential impacts of the restrictions on social contact imposed by disease containment measures may result in increased loneliness. That is, a painful feeling that arises when there is a gap between actual and desired social contact.
Despite A-level results improving steadily since the 1990s there has been a surge in reported levels of student mental distress at UK universities, often resulting from academic pressures. (1) How can it be that students are leaving school with higher grades than ever, yet are struggling more at university, with knock on effects on their mental health?
One factor may be the phenomenon of ‘spoon-feeding’.
What is spoon-feeding?
Growing up, I've always felt like an anomaly - but not someone who stuck out, more like someone blurred in between the lines. I was surrounded by people who looked similar to me, sure, but that made it worse. I would compare myself, with people that were going on completely different paths, playing a game that I wouldn't win. That wasn't enough to discourage my thoughts, though. I was too quiet to stand out, maybe because the noise in my head was enough to silence my voice. I wouldn't make too much of it, I often dismissed my feelings. I took everything on the chin and brushed it off because "everyone felt like this" and "everyone struggled, so it's not a big deal". Toxic right?
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