Wellbeing in higher education

This resource brings together, and builds on, the evidence base for improving wellbeing in higher education. 

Research

 

Find ongoing and recent research. 

 

Practice examples

 

What are universities doing to improve wellbeing and mental health?

 

Evidence

 

How can you take evidence-informed action? 

 

Current and recent research

Select your search criteria and press the filter button to search. Tell us about new and relevant research.

 

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This paper compares the findings of two studies, conducted in 1998 and 2004, of academic staff in British universities. It examines the stability over time of working hours, specific work stressors and levels of psychological distress. Comparisons are also made between the levels of psychological distress currently reported by academic staff and those reported by other professional groups and the general population in the UK. Finally, the paper assesses the extent to which UK universities are meeting minimum health and safety at work standards for the management of job stressors. https://www.tandfonline.com/doi/abs/10.1080/13538320600685081?journalCode=cqhe20%26&…

This study of student suicide within UK higher education directs attention to the community context of suicide. A modified psychological autopsy approach was used to explore 20 case studies of student suicide from the period 2000–2005, drawing on the perspectives of family members, friends and university staff. The study identifies features of the higher education community salient for suicide prevention and concludes that the concept of transition is useful in considering the potential interaction across time and place of the risk factors for vulnerable students. These findings can be used to inform suicide prevention strategies in higher education and in other similar settings. https://www…

The prevalence of mental health problems, the personal and environmental factors that contribute to mental health problems within the research environment, and interventions are being used to support the mental health of researchers and their effectiveness. https://royalsociety.org/~/media/policy/topics/diversity-in-science/understanding-mental-health-in-the-research-environment.pdf…

This report presents the findings of a research project undertaken for the Higher Education Funding Council for England (HEFCE) to update its understanding of institutional support provision for students with mental health problems and other impairments with high cost or intensive support needs. http://www.research.lancs.ac.uk/portal/en/publications/understanding-provision-for-students-with-mental-health-problems-and-intensive-support-needs(8f920e92-8280-400c-b8c1-9381b56300ce)/export.html…

University wellbeing practice examples

This map shows the current practice examples for higher education. Contact us to tell us about what your university is doing to improve wellbeing.

MOVING FROM COUNSELLING-ONLY TO WELLBEING SUPPORT FOR STUDENTS: BOURNEMOUTH UNIVERSITY

Restructuring student support services to create a more integrate, proactive system.

A coordinated collaborative approach to wellbeing: KCLSU

Creating a Wellbeing Coordinator role to support a happier and healthier student community.

Know before you go: Mental health and transitions into university

Providing evidence-based resources to support students in vulnerable transition periods. 

Mental Health Toolkit: Newcastle University

Improving signposting to student support services.

University of Worcester ‘Suicide Safer’ Project

Developing a multi-faceted suicide prevention model to contribute to a ‘Suicide safer’ University and city.

A warmer welcome: Derby University

Changing typical ‘service induction’ sessions to increase belonging.

In partnership with:

Evidence: what do we know?

Across our lives

The biggest drivers of adult wellbeing (16 years and up) are:

  1. Emotional and physical health
  2. Partner relationship
  3. Employment

Find out more about the Centre’s work on lifelong wellbeing

Culture and sport

Mental health treatment, early intervention

Learning

Evidence from the What Works Centre for Wellbeing:

Evidence from other sources:

Financial wellbeing and capability

Evaluating

YOUNGER ADULTS EXPERIENCE POORER MENTAL HEALTH, LONELINESS AND UNEMPLOYMENT

According to the Office for National Statistics (ONS), compared to older people, young people in the UK (broadly from 16 to 24) are more likely to:

REPORT more SYMPTOMS OF MENTAL ILL HEALTH

REPORT LONELINESS MORE FREQUENTLY

FEEL THEY HAVE NO-ONE TO RELY ON OR A SENSE OF BELONGING IN THEIR NEIGHBOURHOOD

BE MORE PHYSICALLY ACTIVE

HAVE HIGHER RATES OF UNEMPLOYMENT

be MORE SATISFIED WITH THEIR PHYSICAL HEALTH

This matters both at an individual level and for society as a whole, in terms of how well we will be able to sustain high levels of national wellbeing into the future.

Get updates

WE’RE CARRYING OUT RESEARCH TO BUILD THE EVIDENCE BASE.

Take 10 seconds to sign up and receive updates as soon as new evidence and case studies emerge. Topics we’ll be reviewing include: loneliness; local service integration; institutional community wellbeing; and further education  and other learning institutions.

Who’s affected?

What are you doing to improve wellbeing?

Tell us what about your projects, activities and policies that aim to improve wellbeing within universities. It could be the first steps of a trial, or an established approach with proven results. Get in touch and we’ll follow up to fin[[d out what worked, what the learning was, and how other universities could take it forward.

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