Mental Health Matters : Mapping Best Practices in Higher Education

UNSPECIFIED (2016) Mental Health Matters : Mapping Best Practices in Higher Education.


Foreword: Today diversity is a very welcome reality in higher education. Today’s campus includes a wide range of students from different backgrounds, cultures, religions and includes students with mental health difficulties. So the question is, how does the system understand and respond to this diversity and to the different learning and support requirements? The point of this research is to put a spotlight on the experiences of students with mental health difficulties in higher education. This is an important lens given that a third of the cohort of young people of college entry age are reported to have experienced a mental health difficulty. The research highlights a concern amongst those consulted that services can be inconsistent across campus and that funding available is insufficient to meet the needs of students with mental health issues. These students require a continuum of supports from admission to teaching and learning to the provision of interventions dedicated to their specific requirements. Institutions are committed to ensuring the rights of their students with disability as outlined within the UNCRPD and in response to the needs of students experiencing mental health issues they have developed many initiatives and creative solutions. This report aims to share these initiatives and finds that there are many good practices emerging within the sector which are based on a deep understanding of the needs of students and involve effective collaboration between functions and services. An emerging strategy in many institutions is to build a culture
of mental well-being and this requires a joined up approach to rethinking how services are delivered. Changing cultures is a challenge and takes deliberation and above all responsibility, student mental well- being is everyone’s job. This research provides an informed basis for institutions to develop a strategy to ensure that students are welcomed, their needs understood and addressed within a supported learning environment where they have opportunity to reach the robust learning outcomes.

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