• Student perspectives on improving mental health support services at university

      Priestley, Michael; Broglia, Emma; Hughes, Gareth; Spanner, Leigh; Durham University; University of Sheffield; University of Derby; Student Minds, Leeds (Wiley, 2021-02-08)
      Drawing on thematic analysis of six student co-creation panels, conducted during the Student Minds University Mental Health Charter consultations, this paper elucidates students’ perspectives and proposals regarding the current issues and challenges around university student mental health and well-being support services. In particular, panels identified existing challenges and opportunities to improve support service access, strategy, and delivery. The panels generated a series of recommendations aimed to establish a clear, coordinated, and strategic approach to delivering accessible and inclusive student mental health support services that are responsive to the diverse needs of the whole student population. Significantly, the student panels situated service reforms within a ‘whole university approach’ entailing holistic structural and cultural change to the university environment, in order to enrich student mental health and well-being and reduce demand on services. The findings of this paper can both reaffirm and specify the principles of good practice propounded by the University Mental Health Charter from a student perspective.
    • Student wellbeing and assessment in higher education: the balancing act

      Jones, Emma; Priestley, Michael; Brewster, Liz; Wilbraham, Susan J.; Hughes, Gareth; Spanner, Leigh; University of Sheffield; Durham University; Lancaster University; University of Cumbria; et al. (Informa UK Limited, 2020-06-24)
      This paper draws on staff and student consultations conducted during the development of Student Minds’ University Mental Health Charter to identify five key tensions which can arise in assessment design and strategy when seeking to balance the wellbeing of students with pedagogical, practical and policy considerations. It highlights the need to acknowledge the pressures of assessment on staff wellbeing as well as students. The particular tensions explored include the need to balance challenge against the psychological threats this can entail; the varying impacts of traditional and novel forms of assessment; the differing demands of collaborative and individual work; the tensions between ideal strategies and those which are practically feasible; and the ways in which feedback is given (as a constructive learning tool) and received (often as a psychological threat). These tensions can provide a valuable point of reflection for educators who need to critically and proactively navigate these conflicts within their own assessment design and practices, as part of a wider whole university approach to promoting student wellbeing.