We are delighted to share that we have extended our online support platform, Student Space, following recommendations from independent think tank, Centre for Mental Health.
Identifying a continued need for student mental health resources, Centre for Mental Health’s report recognised the ongoing value of Student Space, which we launched in August 2020 in response to the impact of the pandemic on UK students. The project was initially due to end in January but this has now been extended to provide support for the rest of this academic year in response to student need.
Student Space was developed in collaboration with services, higher education professionals, researchers and students. It comprises several support elements including advice and information, student stories, direct support services (from phone lines to text to peer support services) and signposting to university and students’ union services. Plus, in recognition of the fact that the pandemic has impacted groups of students in different ways, a range of tailored services and content has also been created.
To date, thousands of students have accessed Student Space, and focus groups conducted by Centre for Mental Health found that students considered the content ‘really helpful’, ‘current’ and ‘authentic.’
Rosie Tressler, CEO, Student Minds, said: "Student Space has enabled us to reach over 250,000 people to date through our digital and tailored support to support their mental health. As the impact of the pandemic continues, it has been apparent just how much this has disrupted students nationally.
This is why Student Minds is pleased to announce the continuation of Student Space, our bespoke programme to support students' mental health throughout the pandemic. We are proud to be able to support students through the challenges posed by the pandemic, as well as other obstacles, such as imminent cost of living increases."
This extension is made possible thanks to the partnership and funding from the Office for Students and the Higher Education Funding Council for Wales.
Jess, a third-year student at the University of Exeter says she felt ‘extremely supported’ by Student Space. Jess has been struggling with OCD which became increasingly challenging during the pandemic. She said: “COVID-19 brought back for me old fears surrounding contamination, illness, and not being able to protect loved ones. Therefore, I felt as though if I didn’t wash my hands enough times then there was an actual chance that I could contribute to a family member getting ill or even dying, by spreading the virus. This led to me giving into a lot of my OCD behaviours and compulsions more frequently, which I had before been able to overcome gradually over many years.
“Unfortunately, my OCD became stronger, feeding off the most recent facts and figures broadcasted on the news, and this had a majorly negative impact on my relationships with those around me, my university work and grades, and severely damaged my self-esteem.
“Student Space gave me the confidence to contact my university wellbeing service and obtain the adjustments that I needed for assignments, such as essay extensions and rest-breaks during exams. Their tips on how to manage a mental health difficulty during the pandemic, and advice on looking after my general wellbeing and managing finances whilst at university was particularly useful. Greater awareness and better education on these matters is such an important and great starting point, so I’m thrilled to see Student Minds bringing this into action.".
At Student Minds, we’re so pleased that we can continue to be there for the students that need us.