Student mental health, stress and medically unexplained symptoms: The BodyMind Approach® for cultivating mental health and wellbeing in higher education institutes
Students in higher education institutions (HEIs) in the UK are increasingly suffering excessive stress and/or mental health difficulties. Medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) are chronic bodily symptoms for which tests and scans return without a diagnosis. Conditions such as fibromyalgia, chronic pain, chronic fatigue, IBS etc. mostly affect young people, non-native speakers and women. All these populations are found in high numbers in HEIs. It is acknowledged chronic stress can lead to, or exacerbate, mental health difficulties and/or MUS. Sometimes MUS appear before any mental health issue although frequently MUS is associated with anxiety and depression.
Dr Sophie Francoise Valeix, PhD, University of Sussex
While studying veterinary medicine in France, I develop a strong interest for medical anthropology with an understanding that health and disease of humans and other animals are constructed, debated and politicised notions. This is why, after my training as a veterinarian epidemiologist, I explored further the social dimensions of global public health issues and interventions through a project in Thailand researching village-based social networks around poultry disease surveillance. I then worked on worldwide knowledge flows in collaborative research on Nipah virus (virus transmitted to people by bats) for the dissertation of my Masters degree in Science Policy.
I recently finished my doctorate at the Institute of Development Studies, University of Sussex, and should graduate in January 2019. My doctoral research was an ethnographic study of the integration of public health professionals into design of national health policies and services in Ghana with a focus on veterinarians and zoonotic diseases. In my thesis, I examine the veterinary culture and norms through vets’ perspectives, daily practices in local contexts and social networks, and confront these to the international call for collaboration between vets, other medical as well as non-medical professions. I argue that professional cultures influence the potential of interventions on global public health issues in complex ways.
Mental health and academia
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?