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.
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 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?