'What can non-clinical universal approaches to student mental health achieve?': Funding call

SMaRteN are pleased to invite proposals for small research projects to investigate non-clinical and universal approaches to improving student mental health.

A whole university approach should consider how all aspects of university life impact upon student mental health. In considering non-clinical and universal interventions we have the opportunity to look up-stream and investigate how the context within which students’ study may be adapted to reduce the risk of developing mental health problems, as well as better supporting students with mental health problems.

To give an example, learning, pedagogy, course content and assessment are the cornerstones of Higher Education, yet there is limited understanding of how these activities influence mental health. For example, we may ask whether the increasingly high stakes pursuit of grades hinders the creative process central to many Higher Education subjects that can foster creative absorption and ‘flow’ and in turn have a positive effect on wellbeing.
Looking beyond education, we may consider the social environment within which students’ study. The university community might be expected to foster social connection, yet students frequently report being lonely. Research might ask how loneliness within the student population can be reduced and whether this would improve mental health. Research has shown that the size of a university campus influences the diversity of student’s social groups; does this in turn influence student mental health and wellbeing?

Research might ask how the built environment influences students. The recent years have seen substantive building development projects across university campuses. Has this investment into built environment been positive for student mental health? Can changes to the space provided for students or the layout of teaching rooms influence mental wellbeing?

Research must assess the balance between risk and benefit, without assuming that any intervention is a “good thing” in and of itself.

APPLYING

We will fund pilot or preliminary work demonstrating a clear plan for how this work will lead to a larger, subsequent grant applications. We are looking to fund work that establishes interdisciplinary collaborations to support subsequent projects and / or tests out evaluation frameworks to support assessment of impact of non-clinical approaches. We particularly invite applications from researchers working in disciplines outside of psychology and psychiatry.

The total funding available through this call is £70,000. We expect to award funding for small projects (up to £10,000), for up to 12 months duration.

Please download the application pack and application form HERE, which are to be completed and emailed to laura.beswick@kcl.ac.uk.

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