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Raising the profile of online mental health support for the student community

06 Jul 2018 | By Big White Wall

Over 280 representatives from Universities across the UK came together over three days in July to talk, learn and share experiences at the AMOSSHE National Conference 2018 in Liverpool. We were proud and excited to host a panel session focussing on how digital can play a pivotal role in student mental resilience.

During the panel session, four Heads of Student Services from the University of Leeds, Birmingham City University, Cardiff Metropolitan University and Brunel University London covered several key questions, ranging from sharing advice, the future of digital mental health services for students and the challenges of commissioning digital services.

Read below just a few pieces of insight during the session

Leslie O’Keeffe, Assistant Director of Student Services at Brunel University London shared “Universities need to find ways to scale the services we’re offering to students and to do more with the same resources.”

“Universities aren’t crisis response units and have finite resources. The mental health professionals operating in these institutions also don’t have all the answers. Better to provide a safe environment and allow students to develop a constructive space, as this will help organisations scale the services they offer and focus resources where they are most needed. BWW is just another tool in the box which shouldn’t be made into a big deal.  It isn’t about replacing it’s complimenting.” Kirsty Palmer, Director of Student Services at Cardiff Metropolitan University.

“Having Big White Wall available has reduced the high levels of anxiety felt by those in support services at peak times” Jane Harris UKCP, Assistant Head of Student Support (Counselling and Wellbeing) at the University of Leeds.

“For us, BWW is a great way of meeting the needs of a diverse student population. Not all students can access face to face services, and in many cases even when they request counselling in person they’re then unable to attend for one reason and another.” Kate Waugh, Deputy Director of Student Affairs (Enablement and Wellbeing) at Birmingham City University.

We also had a fantastic number of questions come in from the audience with one raising the question of whether the culture of 24/7 is causing mental health issues. Is constantly saying that this is an immediate need/crisis not actually giving mixed messages to those who need to learn to cope in real environments?

Having had a great few days in Liverpool, we’re excited to continue conversations with lots of universities about how Big White Wall can support their student populations. If you’re interested to find out more, get in touch using the button below.

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