Continuing our theme of how to stay happy and healthy at university, a new report shows how the UK is not the only country to see increasing mental health issues amongst students. In fact, it looks like its becoming pretty widespread no matter where you study in the world. This research, called Student Wellbeing Matters, takes an independent look at existing research from the UK as well as Germany, Spain and Australia to find out more about how student welfare has changed recently.
The research lists most of the obvious stressors such as financial pressures, academic stress, long commute times, social pressures, job worries and finding the balance between work and study. It also makes an interesting link to housing problems too. The latest National Student Housing Survey supports this, showing a strong correlation between satisfaction with where you live and overall happiness at University. In fact, the correlation is so strong that 80% who rated their accommodation as good or very good, also said it had a positive impact on their wellbeing and 84% who rated their accommodation as bad or very bad, also said it had a negative impact on their wellbeing.
One of the big questions in discussion is how much students want to access wellbeing support where they live, as well as on campus. Kieran Portman, Resident Assistant at The Student Housing Company’s Bentley House in Birmingham, thinks that this is where private providers can step up to support students: “The Resident Assistant (RA) role is a unique one. It’s based on site, so there is a friendly face around the place. The RA’s role includes organising community events which range from celebrating pancake day to sexual health talks for our residents,” says Kieran.
Kieran, who graduates this summer with a law degree from Aston University continues: “Feeling able to talk to someone about your feelings, good or bad, is what’s important. Whether you have something to celebrate, or if you are feeling down after a difficult lecture, its about talking it out – before problems begin to manifest.”
Bobbi Hartshone, Head of Student Wellbeing at GSA, which owns The Student Housing Company and other global student accommodation brands says: “Student accommodation providers can provide a community environment where students feel supported. We’ve been running residence activities for a long time at The Student Housing Company, but now we’ve started to think more holistically and with more research to help make sure it’s effective in promoting the wellbeing of our student residents. We’re now rolling out our programme across all of our student properties worldwide. The whole team are passionate about the opportunity to make a real difference to students’ lives and its good to hear the news that 71% of our residents feel that our staff really care about their wellbeing*.”
*National Student Housing Survey, 2018
NEW WELLBEING ZONE
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