An Educational Emergency
Student wellbeing is experiencing an unprecedented crisis. Recent research from the UK shows that 69% of students are experiencing mental health concerns at University. Further research indicates that this has only gotten worse since the start of the Covid-19 Pandemic. Evidence of this crisis exists in the US, across the globe and in K-12 institutions. The widespread nature of this issue shows it is of critical importance for education providers across the world.
Why is student wellbeing so important?
Student wellbeing is fundamental to successful student learning and development. Students who suffer from mental health issues and do not receive appropriate support often have poor academic development and employment outcomes. This can be due to lower attainment, progression and success. Supporting student wellbeing is key to improving diversity and inclusivity in education. Often students who suffer with poor mental health come from already disadvantaged backgrounds.
Without proper supports these students are least likely to achieve positive academic outcomes and succeed in education. Linking the crisis to rising student drop-out rates, the Student Loan Company’s most recent report reveals that nearly 30,000 students across the UK quit their University course of study this academic year. Solving the issue of falling student retention rates may firstly involve improving student wellbeing and support.
How to improve student wellbeing at your Institution
There are a few crucial elements to student wellbeing support in educational institutions.
- Early identification of students in need of support
- Timely outreach to appropriate students
- Sufficient provision and promotion of relevant supports and resources for students
- Continued monitoring of at-risk or flagged students
The emergence of the student wellbeing crisis calls for greater care and attention to be paid to the student journey. Ultimately supporting student wellbeing and aiding student success is the responsibility of education providers. Unfortunately due to time and workload restraints, and financial pressures, resources at many educational institutions are already stretched incredibly thin. Staff need assistance in recognizing warning signs and reaching out to students.
Educational institutions should make it a priority to implement an institution-wide wellbeing policy. This should focus on a holistic approach to teaching and learning. Intelligent use of student attendance and engagement data can provide key indicators to staff, sending automatic alerts when students may be struggling. Personal tutor dashboards can monitor student progression and engagement across the whole of the new blended model of teaching and learning delivery. This saves valuable time needed for outreach and support provision.
To ensure the wellbeing of student investment in education, education providers need to invest in student wellbeing.
For best practice on improving student wellbeing, read how Kingston University transformed their welfare and widening participation strategies here.