University Mental Health Day 2020

David Barrett, Faculty of Health Sciences, University of Hull

Being a University student is an exciting and life-changing experience. However, some of the academic, financial and personal challenges faced by students can have a negative impact on their mental health and wellbeing (APPG, 2015). For healthcare students, the additional challenges posed – including the need to complete clinical placements along with academic work – can put them under even greater pressure (Turner and McCarthy, 2017).

Students, educators and practice supervisors need a clear understanding of the challenges faced by those undertaking healthcare practitioner education, the impact these can have on mental health and wellbeing, and the support that can be provided. There is also a need for research that allows professionals to identify evidence-based interventions to enhance student mental health and wellbeing.

In the UK, Thursday 5th March 2020 is University Mental Health Day. Each year, this Day provides the opportunity to highlight the importance of student mental health and share best practice that improves mental health within Universities (https://www.unimentalhealthday.co.uk). Last year’s event saw 248 events involving 122 Universities, along with social media activity with a reach of over 29 million using #UniMentalHealthDay

To mark University Mental Health Day 2020, Evidence Based Nursing Journal is exploring some of the pressures faced by healthcare students and how Universities and practice settings can best support the mental health of learners.

Our latest editorial explores whether Universities are doing enough to support student health and wellbeing (Barrett & Twycross, 2020). Over the coming week, we will publish two blogs from students that shine a light on some of the stressors associated with their programmes, including when they have a pre-existing mental health condition. We’ll also publish a blog that explores the role of pets and companion animals with those who are undertaking a programme of study.

Then, on Wednesday March 11th at 8pm (UK time) EBN (@EBNursingBMJ ) will host, along with @liz8ailey, a Twitter chat that provides the opportunity to discuss issues surrounding student mental health and wellbeing.

To join in, add #ebnjc to your tweets; you can also follow the chat by searching for the same hashtag. The Twitter chat on will focus on four questions;

  • What challenges does University life present to mental health and wellbeing?
  • What are the additional pressures of being a nursing, midwifery or other healthcare student?
  • What support is already available to students? How valuable is this?
  • What else can Universities and practice settings do to better support the mental wellbeing of healthcare students?

References

All Party Parliamentary Group on Students (2015) APPG Briefing: “Lost in transition? –provision of mental health support for 16-21 year olds moving to further and higher education” Available at: http://appg-students.org.uk/wp-content/uploads/2017/07/APPG-on-Students-December-Mental-health-briefing.pdf

Barrett D, Twycross A (2020) Student mental health and well-being: are universities doing enough?

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