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Sandpit: What is Distinctive about Student Mental Health
March 13, 2019 @ 10:00 am - 4:30 pm GMTFree
Recent epidemiological studies of student mental health in the UK have been small scale with a narrow focus. Much of the data around student mental health comes from non-academic surveys, however these have produced estimates of the prevalence of student mental health difficulties ranging from 12% to 87%.
The range highlights two challenges. Firstly, the framing of a mental health survey may influence results; surveys that target specific occupations get higher rates of disorders than those that look at the same occupations within population samples, suggesting that there might be systematic over estimation of prevalence in any survey of ‘student stress’. Secondly, the perennial issue of definition cannot be overlooked, especially in a broader cultural context where a widening spectrum of psychological and emotional states is seen as problematic. Recent sociological studies of the rise of public concern about mental health suggest that, at least in part, everyday emotional distress is being relabelled as a mental health difficulty.
There is much promising activity focused around addressing the paucity of prevalence data for UK student mental health and improving our understanding of mental health difficulties in students. Through this sandpit we aim to support collaboration between research groups and universities interested in measuring and tracking student mental health and wellbeing. From a network perspective, we are keen to help groups learn from each other and avoid duplication of effort. We are encouraging anyone interested in measuring student mental health at scale across their university to join this event.
This sandpit is linked to our first Plus-funding call. If assistance is necessary to get early stage projects established or to facilitate collaboration between existing projects, Plus-funding is available to pump prime research. To be eligible for the funding call we are running, projects need to be focused on understanding what is distinctive about student mental health. Please visit www.smarten.org.uk/funding for further details.
Key topics for discussion on the day will be:
- Preliminary feedback from the SMaRteN student-led research team project on measuring student mental health and wellbeing
- Preliminary early feedback from SMarRteN work on student ethnographic case studies, reflecting on how students are thinking about mental health and wellbeing
- The challenge of developing a set of core outcome measures for student mental health and well-being, and creating a common language
- Consideration of how to measure the cost implications of poor student functioning and mental health
- Networking opportunity
- Development of potential research projects for the Plus-funding call.
When & Where: The event will be held in the Franklin-Wilks Building at Waterloo (this is the KCL Waterloo Campus) from 10am – 4.30pm on Wednesday the 13th of March 2019.
Who: This event is open to anyone interested in measuring and tracking student mental health and wellbeing. Space at this event will be limited, to facilitate productive conversation between attendees, we thus ask:
- Where you are working in a research group, only one member of that group attends;
- Attendees are at a stage where they are planning or have started work in this area.
We particularly encourage representatives from across student services to join this event, to share their perspective on what is helpful and feasible in terms of measuring student mental health.
Register: Please apply here