In this workshop, we will explore the relationship between student learning and student wellbeing and look at how the curriculum can support good student mental health.
Every aspect of university life has a potential impact on the wellbeing of students. The curriculum is important to mental health and wellbeing because it is one of the few guaranteed points of contact between students and the university. The curriculum is central to the student experience providing focus, structure, connection and purpose. If universities are to take mental health and wellbeing seriously, the role of the curriculum must be core to their response. Research has also shown that the way students learn and the way they are taught and assessed, can have significant impact on their wellbeing – positive and negative. Drawing on the open access toolkit Education for Mental Health, we will examine this research evidence, to establish key principles and some practical steps staff can take to enhance the learning and wellbeing of their students, through curriculum design and delivery.
There have been increasing concerns about the mental health of university students in most Western countries. The most recent published data in Norway, suggests that 35% of students experience problems with their mental health. Research clearly shows that poor mental health can reduce academic learning, performance, engagement and lead to higher rates of students leaving university. While good mental health can increase creativity, problem solving and better enjoyment of university overall.
This will be an active workshop with opportunity to debate, discuss and share practice.
Who is Gareth Hughes?
Gareth Hughes is a psychotherapist, researcher and lecturer based in the United Kingdom. He led the development of Education for Mental Health, a toolkit hosted by Advance HE to support the development and delivery of curriculum that can support wellbeing and learning. He is also the lead author for the UK’s University Mental Health Charter and the clinical lead for Student Space, a site hosted by Student Minds to support student mental health during the pandemic. Gareth led the development of The Wellbeing Thesis, an online resource for Post-Graduate Research students, is a Principal Fellow of the Higher Education Authority and is the author of Be Well, Learn Well, a book for university students published by Bloomsbury.