Wellbeing highlighted in student-staff partnership project
Psychology staff and students have created resources to raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing
A student-led survey, created by fourth-year representatives Allie McGregor and Kristina Gray, revealed that Psychology students in the School of PPLS did not always know where to go for mental health support.
In response, Senior Teaching Coordinator Kasia Banas set up a student-staff partnership project with Allie, Kristina and Student Support Officer Sarah Larios to tackle these issues and help create a resource to support students' wellbeing and highlight the support available to them.
10 tips to stay well
Drawing on psychological research on wellbeing and resilience, the project group worked with colleagues across the University and EUSA to develop the evidence-based resource '10 tips to stay well'.
The project group drew from evidence in recent research studies highlighting the importance of social support (Cruwys et al., 2015) and contact with nature (Bratman et al., 2015).
Having multiple social groups as sources of support is a key factor in protecting student mental health (Cruwys et al., 2015). Drawing from this line of research, the project group included the recommendation to keep in touch with old friends and to reach out to others for support.
Contact with nature is one of the main themes in '10 tips to stay well'. In Edinburgh, green spaces are abundant, with the Meadows and Holyrood Park within walking distance from the University's central campus. The project group wanted to remind students about the emotional and cognitive benefits of experiencing nature, as demonstrated in a recent study (Bratman et al., 2015).
We wanted to create a simple and appealing resource with information that was easy to grasp. '10 tips to stay well' complements the University's strategy to invest in mental health and highlights the existing resources available to students to empower them to seek the support that they need.
Mental health impact
To maximise the impact of the resource, all Psychology Year organisers will highlight '10 tips to stay well' in their introductory welcome lecture at the start of the academic year.
Postcards and posters will be distributed across the School of PPLS, available in reception areas and in the Student Support Office. Please contact Kasia Banas at Kasia.Banas@ed.ac.uk if you would like to use the postcard or adapt it for your own use.
Cruwys, T., Greenaway, K.H. and Haslam, S. A. (2015). The stress of passing through an educational bottleneck: a longitudinal study of psychology honours students. Australian Psychologist, 50 (5), 372-381