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Previous National Mental Health Projects

e-UNICAL (An electronic web-based intervention designed to decrease University students consumption of alcohol)

e-UNICAL is a University of Leeds initiative funded by the European Research Advisory Board (ERAB) from Jan 2006-Dec 2007. The e-UNICAL project seeks to establish the feasibility and effectiveness of delivering a web-based feedback intervention to full-time undergraduate university students. The intervention will consist mainly of feedback, advice and referral information on alcohol consumption. Its purpose is to monitor alcohol consumption, associated behaviours and mental health outcomes and to offer students a source of information and advice.

UNIQoLL Project (University Quality of Life & Learning)

Funded by the University of Leeds (1999-2006), the aims of the Project are: to monitor student well being over time, on a university-wide basis; to explore relationships between student perceptions of the quality of the University's academic and service infrastructure, on the one hand, and indicators of their own well being, on the other and to promote enhancement in academic and service infrastructure by providing a pool of research based evidence that can be utilised University wide.

All undergraduate students are asked to complete a survey prior to registration during their first year and then every semester during their time at University.

A number of reports and summaries of research findings can be found on the site.

National Programme for Improving Mental Health and Well-being Small Research Projects Initiative (2005-2006)

Understanding and Promoting Student Mental Health in Scottish Higher Education - A Mapping Exercise

The project had three main aims: to map existing statistics, policy and provision for students with mental health difficulties; to gain an understanding of the complex issues involved in addressing student mental health within the higher education (HE) context and; to identify ways in which HE institutions may adopt a more preventative approach.

Project findings and further information can be found by clicking on the link above.

The Student Psychological Health Project (1996-1999)

The Student Psychological Health Project aimed to develop and further improve provision at the University of Leicester for students with psychological and mental health difficulties.

Its objectives were to raise the awareness, knowledge and skills of the whole University community, and through the production of training and study support guidelines and materials, to enhance the provision across the sector.

As part of the project a student survey was undertaken which aimed to identify the extent of psychological health problems amongst students, the impact of these problems on students' ability to study, and to understand students' help seeking behaviours. Staff were also surveyed to gain information about their experiences and opinions in relation to students with personal difficulties and to identify training needs. Some of the key findings of these surveys are as follows:

  • The majority of students relied on friends and family for support, favouring these over the more formal support services, such as the counselling service or academic staff.
  • The biggest concern for students was their ability to clarify and meet academic and/or career goals with 63% highlighting this as a concern.
  • 55% of staff stated that they wished they had more knowledge regarding how to help students experiencing difficulties and the sources of help available.

As a result of the project, resources have been produced for students on mental health issues. In addition, a guide has been produced for staff giving advice and information on supporting students with mental health difficulties.

Nottingham Trent University: Mental Health Liaison - Sharing Good Practice (2000-2002)

The project focused on enhancing provision for HE students with mental health conditions in the East Midlands area. The principal project partners are Nottingham Trent University and Loughborough University. The principal aims of the project were as follows:

  • To strengthen disability service provision for students with mental health problems
  • To facilitate transition for students with mental health problems between FE and HE partners, through closer liaison between partner services and the development of supported transition initiatives.
  • To develop and implement institutional policies and procedures to improve the responsiveness of participating organisations and related external agencies to the needs of students with mental health problems.

Lancaster University Mental Health Project (1996-1999)

A student support resource for HEIs was launched in the form of a web based Student Mental Health Planning, Guidance and Training Manual, produced as part of a HEFCE funded project at Lancaster University.

The website is intended to assist those working in HEI's in the development of policy and practice around all major aspects of student mental health. The content is relevant to a wide cross section of HEI staff as well as students who support other students.

Nottingham University: The Effects of Depression and Anxiety on Academic Achievement (1996-1999)

The aims of the project included:

  •  The provision of an estimate of the number of students on campus who may be suffering from a moderate or severe degree of anxiety and depression
  • The exploration with a number of academic departments about: how much is known about students who withdraw and reasons for this withdrawal; how much is known about student under-performance and what happens; what is known about the resources available to students with mental health needs
  • The provision of training and support in identifying students who may be at risk of anxiety and depression, including effective ways to respond to this.

OSMHN's summary of Nottingham University's Project can be found by clicking here.

University of Teesside Mental Health Project (1996-1999)

The aim of the project was to determine the principle causes of stress and distress and what it is that students require and want by way of support.

The project determined that a major requirement for both students and staff was information on the support available and where to go to access such support.

As a consequence, the outcomes of the project were as follows:

  • A 'Directory of Support Services for Students' has been produced which provides information on internal and external sources of support.
  • A series of information booklets have been produced which provide information to students about a range of mental health issues which they may come across in the higher education setting.
  • A training and development programme has been produced for university staff which focuses largely on changing perceptions and attitudes towards mental health issues.

University of Hull: Responding Effectively to Students' Mental Health Needs (1996-1999)

The aim of the project was to explore the response of higher education institutions to students with mental health needs.

Focus groups were run with staff and students. The groups examined the causes of mental health problems amongst students, the role of staff in supporting students with mental health problems and the relationship of the University with external agencies with a remit in the field of mental health.

A publication Stanley, N & Manthorpe, J (eds) Students' Mental Health Needs: Problems and Responses (Jessica Kingsley Publishers, 2002) has been written following the research at Hull.