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Register today: National project creating tools to support mental health of university students

Recent research has discovered that over 40% of students reported high levels of worry.

To address a gap in provision for student mental health support, the Nurture-U project has been developed by the University of Exeter in collaboration with Cardiff, Oxford, King’s College London, Newcastle, and Southampton Universities. It aims to learn more from student experiences to improve the wellbeing services currently offered.

Chief Investigator of Nurture-U, Professor Ed Watkins, explained the project aim:

“Most mental health issues emerge between the ages of 12 to 24, so students are right in the middle of that range. On top of this, university has its own specific stressors including adjusting to life away from home, managing finances, making new friends, and academic challenges.

“We know that a lot of students have elevated levels of anxiety and depression and we’re trying to bridge the gap between what students need and what’s currently available to support them at university.

“Whilst we know approaches that are likely to be helpful, they haven’t yet been tested in a university setting and this is one of key goals of Nurture-U.”

So far, more than 11,000 students have taken part in the survey which runs twice per year, and initial findings have highlighted high levels of anxiety and depression, whilst half of the participants reported high levels of loneliness.

These findings have led to the development of two new trials testing the effectiveness of a digital wellbeing programme which focuses on building self-esteem and confidence, and a self-guided vs. therapist guided online cognitive behavioural therapy (CBT) programme. These studies are open to students across the UK.

NCMH Researcher Gabriella Dattero Snell, who is working on the project commented:

“Investigating student mental health can have long-term benefits for overall wellbeing and success in life.

By providing students with the right support and resources needed to thrive, we can equip them with the skills and resilience that are essential to navigating adulthood.

Nurture-U is also piloting a new digital wellbeing toolkit to help students find the right resources and support available at their university to further empower self-advocacy for personal wellbeing.

“Students using the wellbeing toolkit will also be prompted each week to answer a few brief questions which will help researchers try to understand how student wellbeing can change over time.”

Sign up to use the wellbeing toolkit today

Read more

Nurture-U | What is Nurture-U? 

NCMH | National student mental health project comes to Cardiff

Ellie Short

Ellie is the Communications Officer for NCMH and the Centre for Neuropsychiatric Genetic and Genomics at Cardiff University.

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