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A number of resources are available to help university staff understand and address mental health and wellbeing issues in higher education. Some of these particularly deal with specific challenges that may arise within geography programmes.

The following list of online resources, organisations and publications on mental health and wellbeing in HE geography is dynamic. If you know of other resources you think we should be sharing, we’d be happy to hear from you at rhed@rgs.org

If you are interested in receiving regular updates on workshops and events on wellbeing and mental health, please sign up to geographyandwellbeing@jiscmail.ac.uk

The Society does not accept responsibility for the content of the external sites. Inclusion on this list does not equate to an endorsement of any content or organisation. Please contact the external site for questions regarding individual resources.

 

Key information and resources

University Mental Health Charter

The University Mental Health Charter Framework is a set of evidence-informed principles to support universities to adopt a whole-university approach to mental health and wellbeing.

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Mental health: Are all students being properly supported? (2019)

Office for Students (UK)

More students than ever are reporting mental health conditions. This brief asks what approaches are being taken across the higher education sector to support them, and what more can be done. Using data available for the first time from the OfS’s access and participation dataset, it explores the outcomes and needs of students with declared mental health conditions.

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Mental health of higher education students (2021)

Royal College of Psychiatrists (UK)

A report including information on the epidemiology of mental disorder in students, issues that lead to vulnerability in students, potential benefits, and areas that promote resilience and mental wellbeing. The report also covers the particular issues that arise in dealing with students of health and social care professions, and the ways in which HEIs have responded to concerns about the mental wellbeing of students.

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Student mental health and wellbeing: research report (2021)

Department for Education (UK)

The findings of research into approaches to supporting students’ wellbeing and mental health, the range of services available to students, and data collected on the prevalence of mental health difficulties and levels of wellbeing.

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Student mental wellbeing in higher education: good practice guide (2015)

Universities UK (UK)

This guidance updates the Guidelines on Student Mental Health Policies and Procedures for Higher Education published in 2000 by taking account of the requirements of today’s students, the increasing diversity of higher education providers and the different policies and practices that have emerged across the four nations of the United Kingdom.

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Support for students with mental health issues in higher education in England (2020)

House of Commons (UK)

This House of Commons library briefing paper sets out data on the prevalence of mental health conditions in higher education students in England and outlines the action higher education providers, the government and the Office for Students are taking to help students with mental health issues. It also flags up how students can get support.

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The declining state of student mental health in universities and what can be done (2018)

Mental Health Foundation (UK)

Why are university students of particular concern? Given that the majority of mental health problems develop by the age of 24, university students are a group at high risk of having mental health problems. Starting university is a major life transition, and can be both exciting and overwhelming. Not only must students manage multiple academic and social pressures, they must also navigate developmental challenges as they transition to adulthood. Students today are faced with unique concerns compared to students in the past.

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Call to Action: Mental Health and Wellbeing in Higher and Further Education (England) (2020)

British Psychological Society (UK)

The mental health of both students and staff in higher (HE) and further (FE) education is a serious concern. This Call to Action sets out the British Psychological Society’s analysis of recommended next steps to maintain momentum on this crucial issue.

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Madness Canada

An activist site that supports academic-community collaborations. Work embraces a diversity of experiences, expertise, and viewpoints, recognizing the legacy of mad pride within Canadian communities. Website contributors include community members, academics, educators and policy makers.

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Organisations

Mental Health First Aid England

A social enterprise offering guidance and training, including Higher Education Mental Health First Aid (MHFA) courses.

Visit website

Visit HE pages

 

Student Minds

The UK’s student mental health charity; empowering students and members of the university community to look after their own mental health, support others and create change. They also run the Student Space advice and information pages.

Visit website

 

NHS Every Mind Matters

Mental health support hub from the NHS.

Visit website

 

Research Group initiatives

Get Happy and Write

Geographies of Health and Wellbeing Research Group

Get Happy and Write is an online social writing group of Geographers that meets on the first Friday of each month, 1-4pm. This is an opportunity to block out your diary for writing (reading, admin, we’re not strict!) and get a chance to meet and chat with our lovely group of geographers. We include wellbeing activities designed to help make your Friday afternoons a bit more relaxing. 

Sign up here

 

Research Group Discussion Forum notes

Notes from a Research Group Discussion Forum meeting on mental health and wellbeing held in November 2021.

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Reading list

  • Batty, L. (2020) Mental health and fieldwork. Access the article.

  • Brogan, C. (2018) Imperial geologist tackles field trip mental health. Access the article.

  • Butler-Rees, A. & Robinson, N. (2020) Encountering precarity, uncertainty and everyday anxiety as part of the postgraduate research journey. Emotion, Space and Society.¬†Access the article.

  • Caretta, M. & Faria, C. (2020) Slow Mentoring and Feminist Research in Geography.¬†Geographical Review.¬†Access the article.

  • Clark, G. (2007) Going Beyond our Limits: Issues for Able and Disabled Students. Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 31(1), pp. 211-218. Access the article.

  • Congreve, A. (2019) Creating community among PhD students to help reduce isolation and play a positive role in supporting mental health. Access the article.

  • Giles, S., Jackson, C. & Stephen, N. (2020) Barriers to fieldwork in undergraduate geoscience degrees,¬†Nat Rev Earth Environ, 1, pp. 77‚Äď78. Access the article.

  • Hall, T., Healey, M. and Harrison, M. (2004) Fieldwork and disabled students: discourses of exclusion and inclusion, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 28(2), pp. 255-280. Access the article.

  • Hill, J., Healey, R.L., West, H. and D√©ry, C. (2019) Pedagogic partnership in higher education: encountering emotion in learning and enhancing student wellbeing, Journal of Geography in Higher Education.¬†Access the article.

  • John, C.M., Khan, S.B. (2018) Mental health in the field, Nature Geosci, 11, pp. 618‚Äď620. Access the article.

  • Jones, C.H. & Whittle, B. (2021) Researcher Self‚ÄźCare and Caring in the Research Community, Area.¬†Access the article.

  • Mol, L. and Atchison, C. (2019) Image is everything: educator awareness of perceived barriers for students with physical disabilities in geoscience degree programs, Journal of Geography in Higher Education, 43(4), pp. 544-567. Access the article.

  • Mullings, B., Peake, L. and Parizeau, K. (2016) Cultivating an Ethic of Wellness in Geography, The Canadian Geographer 60 (2): 161-67. Access the article.

  • Peake, L. and England, K. (2019) (What Geographers Should Know About) The State of U.S. and Canadian Academic Professional Associations‚Äô Engagement with Mental Health Practices and Policies, The Professional Geographer, 72(1), pp. 37-53. Access the article.

  • Peake, L. and Mullings, B. (2016) Critical Reflections on Mental and Emotional Distress in the Academy,¬†ACME: An International Journal for Critical Geographies, 15(2), pp. 253-284. Access the article.

  • Smith, D. and Marvell, A. (2019)¬†Encountering emotions during international fieldwork: Developing emotional intelligence and resilience to support innovative pedagogies¬†RGS-IBG annual conference 2019

  • Stokes, A., Feig, A.D., Atchison, C.L., Gilley, B. (2019) Making geoscience fieldwork inclusive and accessible for students with disabilities,¬†Geosphere, 15(6), pp. 1809‚Äď1825. Access the article.

  • Todd, J. (2020) Experiencing and embodying anxiety in spaces of academia and social research.¬†Gender, Place and Culture, 28(4). Access the article.

  • Tucker, F. and Horton, J. (2019) 'The show must go on!‚Äô Fieldwork, mental health and wellbeing in Geography, Earth and Environmental Sciences, Area, vol. 51, no. 1, pp. 84-93. Access the article.

 

 

Featured image: @you-x-ventures/Unsplash