Improving Student Mental Health - Cathedrals Group and CUAC Symposium

In a National Union of Students Survey in 2018, 78% of students said that they experienced mental health issues in the last year while 33% said they had had suicidal thoughts. Many students find the University experience increasingly more difficult. More live at home and commute in to study. They acquire significant debt during the course of their degree. Many work – sometimes full-time – to help to pay their way through, while there is pressure to get a good degree in order to get a good job at the end of their studies. Many students, like most young people, also live with the pressures created by social media. A recent report by the Higher Education Policy Institute, The Invisible Problem? Improving Students Mental Health, notes that there is a lack of robust data and rigorous research into mental health problems in the student population. Among the report’s various recommendations, it speaks about the need to develop well-being characterised by ‘emotional resilience’ in students. The symposium seeks to bring together academics and practitioners from across the Cathedrals Group and CUAC institutions to engage in conversations about addressing and responding to mental health problems among students. It seeks to consider questions such as:  What are the main causes of the increase of mental health problems among students?  How might the causes of student mental health problems be mitigated and addressed?  In what ways should student well-being be characterised?  To what extent is developing ‘emotional resilience’ an appropriate solution to improving students’ mental health?  Are mental health issues particularly prevalent among certain groups of students and, if so, how might Universities address those?  What good practice is already in operation in our institutions that is successfully addressing student mental health problems?  Is there anything distinctive that the HE Sector as a whole can learn from the practices and ethos of Cathedrals Group and CUAC institutions? For further information , please contact Professor Wayne Morris w.morris@chester.ac.uk The Symposium will be hosted by the University of Chester, Parkgate Road, Chester, CH1 4BJ, from 10.00 - 16.00.

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