University Peer Support for Student Mental Health and Wellbeing
Student mental health and wellbeing are areas of concern in higher education. Universities report a 94% increase in demand for counselling services (Thorley, 2017) and are therefore searching for new approaches to support students. Non-professional, settings-based interventions that are embedded in the natural student lifecycle are of particular interest because of their accessibility for all students. Peer support in higher education is one such ‘organic’ approach; however, the research to understand its role in supporting students is lacking in university settings.
The research project aims to address this by answering the question: ‘University peer support: Can non-professional interventions improve student mental health and wellbeing?’ The following outlines the 4 studies of this investigation:
To conduct a systematic review of the types of university peer support that affect student mental health and wellbeing.
To evaluate the operational feasibility of online student wellbeing peer support group in current COVID-19 landscape with mixed methods approach.
To understand university peer support approaches by interviewing staff who coordinate them independently or in partnership with Student Minds.
To identify what university students understand peer support to be and the factors that influence if they access it through focus groups.
Prof. Juliet Foster