Enhancing learning and teaching about mental health across the disciplines
Across the UK, there is a growing appreciation that mental health matters. For individuals, it can affect their ability to learn, earn, form strong and meaningful relationships, and live long and healthy lives. For government, it can affect productivity, demand for public services and levels of expenditure on out-of-work benefits. But as awareness of the importance of maintaining positive mental health continues to grow, and stigma relating to mental illness is slowly chipped away, other parts of society are also required to consider their own role in relation to public mental health and wellbeing.
There is a need to consider the extent to which the UK’s universities are equipped to support students’ mental health and wellbeing. On the one hand, there is a growing public narrative suggesting a ‘crisis’ in students’ mental health, with frequent stories of long delays in accessing counselling, and tragic reports of student suicides. On the other, young people today are often accused of being ‘snowflakes’ unable to cope with ordinary life events. What these narratives are likely to conceal, though, is the real extent of poor mental health and wellbeing within the student population; the extent to which this has changed over time, the extent to which universities are currently meeting the challenge; and what more can be done (including by government and other actors such as the NHS). This report looks to provide answers to those questions.
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