Students in the UK are probably less likely to fail than ever before. For instance, the proportion of first class honours awarded has tripled since 1994.(1) Yet fear of academic failure has risen, particularly among girls here, who now rank fifth in the world for fear of failure.(2)
Here I explore what can be done to reduce this fear. I’d welcome insights on this from fellow researchers.
New Student Team members Elizabeth James (Teesside University) and Chloe Casey (Bournemouth University) talk about their first month as part of SMaRteN, and the training days they attended to prepare for work on research projects on Big Data and Key Questions.
Michael Priestley, SMaRteN Student Team member 2018/2019
The University Mental Health Charter recently highlighted student voice and participation as an enabling strategy for universities to effectively coordinate whole university change to student mental health outcomes. Student voice and participation via the co-production of student mental health research can offer one particularly rewarding route to understanding and responding to the student mental health context and support needs. The UKRI-funded Student Mental Health Research Network [SMaRteN] models a particularly ambitious, strategic, and effective approach to co-producing student mental health research. As an outgoing member of the SMaRteN student-led research team, I share my experiences of how the principles of co-production can be applied in research to better understand and change the state of student mental health in the higher education sector.
The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust: Strategically Supporting Student Mental Health in Universities and Colleges
Michael Priestley, SMaRteN Student Team member 2018/2019
This blog was originally delivered as a short talk at The Charlie Waller Memorial Trust Information Evening 2019.
In this blog, I aim to synthesise my different perspectives on student mental health and wellbeing in order to shine a light on some of the great work that the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust are currently delivering to support students at universities and colleges. I am 1.) A current student, with lived experience of mental health difficulties; 2.) A student mental health researcher, both through my PhD and as a member of the SMaRteN student research team; and 3.) A student involvement coordinator and student representative on the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust Universities and College Advisory Board.
With levels of student mental distress having risen sharply in the UK are there lessons we can learn from other countries, to seek to avoid this? That’s what I’m researching, as a member of our project team. I’d welcome any findings on this from fellow researchers.
The Netherlands is where I’ve started, as a recent study found no evidence of an increase in student mental health problems over the last ten years.(1) This probably isn’t surprising as, since the World Happiness report started in 2012, the Netherlands has never finished outside the top seven, whereas the UK has never come higher than 15th.(2)
At Health Action Campaign we are looking to provide fresh perspectives as to why student mental distress has been increasing in the UK and what might be done to reverse this. So, is there anything we might learn from the Dutch?
I am a first year PhD researcher at the University of Bath interested in a digital intervention for self-harm in university students.
The move to university can be a stressful time. It can involve adapting to a new environment, gaining new independence and the associated pressures that this brings, leaving comfortable support networks behind, and new academic stressors. For many, it can also trigger the onset of self-harm, with this being twice as prevalent in university populations than in non-students of the same age. It has also been suggested that self-harm is more prevalent in university populations than in clinical samples, and that rates of self-harm are increasing over time.
My name is Nkasi and I struggled with a mental illness during my undergraduate and postgraduate life; and continue to struggle with depression, anxiety, and pre-menstrual dysphoric disorder as a PhD student.
As well as my battle with mental illness I also often struggle to navigate the varying degrees of racism I face as a black female PhD student. Research in young adults suggests certain personal identities (e.g. identifying as an ethnic minority, female, LGBTQI+) might mean you are more likely to struggle with mental health problems. There is lack of research into whether similar patterns of mental health inequality are present in the UK university student population.
The rise of the zombie academy, the valuing of higher education in future earning potential terms solely and the attainment culture cultivated in the UK education system are creating a toxic environment for both students and staff.
Concerns around the wellbeing and mental health of the student population are well documented. In the 2017 report ‘Not By Degrees’ (pg34) the IPPR comments on the YouGov survey findings. Study was found to be the primary cause of stress among students, this is coupled with pressure to find a high-class degree as ‘Finding a job after university’ is the second highest cause of stress reported by students (“Not by degrees”, 2017).
What is important in therapy? Research study for people who have had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT).
I am a researcher looking for people who have had Cognitive Behavioural Therapy (CBT) therapy in the last 2 years to take part in a research project.
Cognitive Behavioural Therapy is a talking therapy that aims to improve how people feel and reduce distress and mental health difficulties. Cognitive Behavioural Therapy involves helping people challenge and change their patterns of thinking and/or behaviour.
Late childhood to early adulthood is a vulnerable period for the onset of long-term physical and mental health conditions. It is also a period of increased risk for the development of harmful health behaviours. In addition, this period is marked by significant life changes. These include the transition from child and adolescent to adult health services, moving out of home for the first time, and going to university or beginning employment. It is for these reasons that we, at the Institute of Psychiatry, Psychology and Neuroscience at King’s College London, have developed a project dedicated to improving the health of young people.
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?