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Student mental health

Why focus on student mental health?

We know that students have been under pressure recently and experienced a lot of change. This may have affected their mental health. Universities are focusing on the mental wellbeing of their students, and we are keen to learn more, share good practice and explore how we may work together.

What did we do?

We wanted to gather information around student mental health in Oxfordshire, Berkshire and Buckinghamshire to see if the AHSN can support and /or add value. Our initial work was to meet key stakeholders and collect information using some structured questions. We met with student representatives, staff from universities, NHS mental health staff, GPs and voluntary sector organisations.

Why did we meet with stakeholders?

Meeting with key stakeholders should help us to identify and focus on any aspects of student mental health where improvements could be made, for example in particular services or the interface between them, and potentially bring people together for workshops/sharing events.

Download the full Student Mental Health Scoping Highlights Report here

Key areas we are interested in:

  • What is currently available for students?
  • What is working well?
  • What is working less well and what are the areas of concern? Including any challenges or barriers
  • What might make things better?

What did we learn?

We met 32 stakeholders and asked them structured questions about student mental health. We then analysed their responses, from which three main themes emerged.  The full report can be downloaded here or by clicking on the image, right.

Being human

Being human revolved around both acknowledging the human experience, the ups and downs of life for students and that support can be given by anyone through taking a human approach.

The theme of Being Human is made up of four subthemes: The human approach: validating how students are feeling. Use of the term 'resilience'. Distress and confusion as a normal pat of maturation. Fixed attitudes, both negative and positive about students and student life.







Recently emerging themes

Recently emerging themes were those brought about through the pandemic and technological advancements.

The theme of recently emerging themes is made up of four sub themes; reduced opportunities to socialise and reduced access to face to face support. Increase in student mental health presentations. Changes in demography within the student body. Digital as both a blessing and a curse.








Organisational challenges

There were large themes around organisational challenges that are long standing and potentially the most intractable issues. The majority of these issues raised were discussed not just in relation to students but in general for anyone accessing mental health care.

The theme of organisational challenges is made up of four subthemes; Access to secondary care mental health teams, particularly for: eating disorders, ADHD and Autism, Complex Needs. Differing expectations of services, Communication and consent to share information. Transitions of care.







What next?

We are held an online event on 30th September 2022, to bring together stakeholders to discuss how we might develop the offer to university students within the Thames Valley with input from a variety of speakers. A recording of the event and further information is available here or the navigation tab on the right.

If you would like to contribute or for more information please contact Hayley Trueman: