The mental health symposium: exploring and enhancing mental health initiatives and resources
The purpose of the mental health symposium is to emphasise the importance of mental health awareness amongst the EUniWell community. Throughout the year, each university will be asked to collect information on specific aspects of mental health resources at their universities. A three-day symposium will be held to present the data collected along with guest speakers and activities. This will allow the consortium an opportunity to exchange ideas regarding how mental health is addressed in the respective universities.
Partner institutions: Semmelweis University, University of Birmingham, University of Cologne, University of Florence, Leiden University, Linnaeus University, Nantes Université.
All universities will be distributing the surveys in their respective campuses and the data will be analysed by Leiden University.
Purpose and Significance
Research in mental health and well-being amongst university students has increased exponentially within the past decade.(1) This has unveiled an increase in the severity of mental disorders and in the number of people needing and seeking help. Higher education institutes are well-positioned to play a critical role in this regard, as 75% of serious mental health issues start to become prevalent at age 25.(2) Therefore, it is vital that higher education institutes take initiative to enhance their mental health resources and overcome this daunting statistic.
The COVID-19 pandemic has exposed current students to many new and unforeseen challenges including quarantine isolation, online courses and remote examinations. Many students experienced mental health related concerns such as anxiety, depression, panic, and loss of interest.(3) Since the start of the pandemic, approximately 71% of students have expressed an increased level of anxiety, according to a study conducted by Son, C et al. (2020).(3) EUniWell offers an unique opportunity to explore the effects of COVID-19 and improve the current mental health status of all students.
The purpose of the Mental Health Symposium is to emphasize the importance of mental health awareness amongst the EUniWell community, with the inclusion of staff, students and professors on a global and regional level. Throughout the year students from each university will be asked to collect information focusing on specific aspects of mental health and well-being. In September 2022, a three day symposium (online or in person) will be held. During this time, the consortium will enable the teaching, learning and exchanging of ideas regarding how mental health is addressed in the respective universities. Guest speakers in the fields of psychiatry, physical exercise, nutrition, stress and time management will be invited to the symposium. This will allow the consortium to incorporate new initiatives and ideas in their universities and enhance their schools’ mental health and well-being programmes. Therefore, strengthening the consortium’s mental health awareness and resources through the sharing of ideas and knowledge.
Implementation Method and Timeline
Currently, the main goal of the 7 partner universities is to get the questionnaire out to students. Some universities are working on translating the questionnaire, working with their University’s Ethical Committee to approve the questionnaire and others have already started distributing the survey. If responses can be collected within the next couple of months, the data can be given to Leiden University for analysis hopefully before the summer. This would mean that we can plan to have the symposium at the end of September 2022 and, depending on the pandemic situation, either in person or online.
We hope that we can create an online platform to continue to share ideas after the symposium. By having this platform we can ensure that all 7 university campuses are well equipped to handle mental health issues.
Contact us at: euwsote5[at]gmail.com
- Hernández-Torrano, D., Ibrayeva, L., Sparks, J., Lim, N., Clementi, A., Almukhambetova, A., Nurtayev, Y., Muratkyzy, A. (2020). Mental Health and Well-Being of University Students: A Bibliometric Mapping of Literature. Frontiers in Psychology, 11, 1226. doi:10.3389/fpsyg.2020.01226
- More College Students Seeking Help With Mental Health. (2018, November 06). Retrieved January 20, 20201, from www.pasadenavilla.com/2018/11/06/college-students-seeking-help/
- Son, C., Hegde, S., Smith, A., Wang, X., Sasangohar, F. (2020, September 03). Effects of COVID-19 on College Students' Mental Health in the United States: Interview Survey Study. Retrieved January 25, 2021, from www.jmir.org/2020/9/e21