By Patrick Sullivan, co-Editor-in-Chief
The University has reopened its annual Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey until 26 May to advise its continued strategy for student support.
Last year, over 5,700 students completed the survey and the responses were used as a basis for the new Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy, published in December 2018. The strategy is broken into eight sections: Leadership, Transitions, Prevention, Early Intervention, Support, Staff, Partnerships, and Data and Research.
Professor Sarah Purdy was hired in January in the new role of Pro Vice-Chancellor of Student Experience to ‘lead on the development and implementation of the University Strategy on student engagement, wellbeing, inclusion, resilience, careers and wider student voice matters’.
In a recent blog post, she said: ‘Offering enough support to students is a must for any University. Keeping the channels open between us and our student community for conversation is essential to ensure that support is not only on offer, but right for them. The annual Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Survey is one such channel that provides our students an opportunity to have a confidential and frank discussion about what we offer and how we can continue to improve.’
'Offering enough support to students is a must for any University.'
Professor Sarah Purdy
Pro Vice-Chancellor of Student Experience
The results of the 2018 survey found that one in four students said they didn’t have someone to talk to about their day-to-day problems. Residential Life and Student Wellbeing Services have since introduced 24 hour support to increase access.
Other key statistics which arose from the results were that one in three Bristol students have experienced a diagnosed mental health problem, 80 per cent of those had visited a doctor since starting their degrees, and that poor mental health was more prevalent in marginalised groups. Statistics were also produced for drug use, alcohol use, and experiences of sexual misconduct.
A student spokesperson from Bristol SU’s Wellbeing Network encouraged greater numbers of students to partake this year, despite the response period falling during exams.
‘This survey is a direct channel to inform the decisions that the University make and will be listened to. If only a quarter of the student body respond with their needs, only a quarter of students needs will be met. If we want to see changes made at the University we must engage when they ask us to. The more we tell them, the more they can help us.'
In addition to the annual survey, the University also introduced an annual student wellbeing assessment this academic year to be taken at registration, informing individuals of appropriate and relevant services.
Students can complete the survey via this link.
Student support services include:
University Wellbeing Services http://www.bristol.ac.uk/students/wellbeing/
Young Minds https://youngminds.org.uk/ 0808 802 5544
Papyrus https://www.papyrus-uk.org/ 0800 068 41 41
Student Minds http://www.studentminds.org.uk/findsupport.html
Featured Image credit: University of Bristol
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