Daphne Metland, Director, Unihealth

The Universities UK lead on Wellbeing, Professor Steve West, has suggested that students should declare mental health problems on their application. 

Not all students have a mental health problem of course. There are some students who really struggle with mental health issues and they do need hands-on support. There are other students who are very happy and coping well at university. In between are the majority of students, who need some support and help, some of the time.  We should be thinking about how to support all students at scale to avoid small issues growing into real problems.

And realistically the only way to do that is to use digital systems. Students are digital-natives and many don’t need, or want, face-to -face support. They do need an accessible digital support system.  At UniHealth, we carried out research which revealed 82% of students experience stress and anxiety, almost half (45%) have feelings of depression and, shockingly, 1 in 5 (19%) students have suicidal thoughts. Our survey also showed that nearly a third (28%) of students said they’d prefer to receive advice from a message sent directly to their smartphone.

Many people cannot identify when feeling stressed or anxious tips over into having a mental health problem. If we can reach students before this tipping point and use ‘nudge theory’ to help them make changes to their lives, we could prevent much of the anxiety and stress that students experience.

Nudge theory involves regular messages that break the changes down into small, easy to achieve steps. Phone messages built around the student calendar are ideal to deliver ‘nudges’. The pattern of university life is clear-cut. From preparing to leave home, to coping with fresher’s week, to feeling home sick or dealing with exam pressure. Timely messages can appear on the phone, in the student’s hand, just when they are needed.

Live push messaging programmes delivered by phone can offer tailored, private support.  So can apps, of course, or even emails. But these are examples of ‘pull’ information. Live messaging is ‘push’ information. Pull relies on the student finding and using the information: fine when a student is feeling ok, but difficult if they are feeling down or worried. Push allows the student to sign up once and automatically get the information and support they need, when they need it.

And push messaging is much more effective. Teens check their phones 90 times a day, so you can be sure a phone message will be seen! Around 77% of people who download apps never use after the first few days. Phone messages have an open rate almost three times higher than email. Universities often use email to contact students. One student in a focus group told us that he counted the emails he got from his uni in his first two weeks - he got to 104 and stopped counting! No wonder many of those messages were lost.

Live messaging programmes takes the messages to where the students are; on their phones, in their social bubble.  Frequent small messages act as ‘nudges’ towards behaviour change, offering support, information and reminders.

By adopting a digital solution, universities are able to reach multiple students with push messages. each message can offer a pull option if they need more information, or signpost students to other forms of help.  It could be pages on the universities own website, or links to other reliable sources of help and support.

According to the Higher Education Funding Council of England (HEFCE), it costs a university £33,000 for each student who drops out and the average dropout rate in 8%. Any university that can prevent even one drop out will save money, as well as avoid stress and disappointment for the student.

Daphne Metland, Director, Unihealth

About UniHealth: Unihealth is the UK’s first health and wellbeing mobile messaging programme for university students. Unihealth is on a mission to educate and inspire students using innovative and intelligent tools.

About Daphne Metland: As a Director of Unihealth and a medical journalist with many years experience of designing and writing mobile health messages, Daphne has created behaviour change programmes delivered by mobile phone in China, India, South Africa and Mexico which reach over 7 million people. Daphne believes in a world where university students are empowered to make wise choices about their personal health and wellbeing.

You may also be interested in these articles:

Register, Login or Login with your Social Media account:


Advertisers

Upcoming FE Events

Advertiser Skyscrapers

Newsroom Activity

South West Institute of Technology centre (SWIoT)

Petroc Principal Sean Mackney is supporting Love Our Colleges week by showing off the build of our South West Institute of Technology centre...

FE News: The Future of Education News Channel had a status update on Twitter 8 hours 3 minutes ago

RT @FrancisAlun: We talked a little bit about Oldham and social mobility with @TomBewick and guests. It was fun to do and #skillsworldlive…
View Original Tweet

Claire Russell has published a new article: Education world now putting more focus on planning 10 hours 17 minutes ago

Latest Education News

Further Education News

The FE News Channel gives you the latest education news and updates on emerging education strategies and the #FutureofEducation and the #FutureofWork.

Providing trustworthy and positive Further Education news and views since 2003, we are a digital news channel with a mixture of written word articles, podcasts and videos. Our specialisation is providing you with a mixture of the latest education news, our stance is always positive, sector building and sharing different perspectives and views from thought leaders, to provide you with a think tank of new ideas and solutions to bring the education sector together and come up with new innovative solutions and ideas.

FE News publish exclusive peer to peer thought leadership articles from our feature writers, as well as user generated content across our network of over 3000 Newsrooms, offering multiple sources of the latest education news across the Education and Employability sectors.

FE News also broadcast live events, podcasts with leading experts and thought leaders, webinars, video interviews and Further Education news bulletins so you receive the latest developments in Skills News and across the Apprenticeship, Further Education and Employability sectors.

Every week FE News has over 200 articles and new pieces of content per week. We are a news channel providing the latest Further Education News, giving insight from multiple sources on the latest education policy developments, latest strategies, through to our thought leaders who provide blue sky thinking strategy, best practice and innovation to help look into the future developments for education and the future of work.

In May 2020, FE News had over 120,000 unique visitors according to Google Analytics and over 200 new pieces of news content every week, from thought leadership articles, to the latest education news via written word, podcasts, video to press releases from across the sector.

We thought it would be helpful to explain how we tier our latest education news content and how you can get involved and understand how you can read the latest daily Further Education news and how we structure our FE Week of content:

Main Features

Our main features are exclusive and are thought leadership articles and blue sky thinking with experts writing peer to peer news articles about the future of education and the future of work. The focus is solution led thought leadership, sharing best practice, innovation and emerging strategy. These are often articles about the future of education and the future of work, they often then create future education news articles. We limit our main features to a maximum of 20 per week, as they are often about new concepts and new thought processes. Our main features are also exclusive articles responding to the latest education news, maybe an insight from an expert into a policy announcement or response to an education think tank report or a white paper.

FE Voices

FE Voices was originally set up as a section on FE News to give a voice back to the sector. As we now have over 3,000 newsrooms and contributors, FE Voices are usually thought leadership articles, they don’t necessarily have to be exclusive, but usually are, they are slightly shorter than Main Features. FE Voices can include more mixed media with the Further Education News articles, such as embedded podcasts and videos. Our sector response articles asking for different comments and opinions to education policy announcements or responding to a report of white paper are usually held in the FE Voices section. If we have a live podcast in an evening or a radio show such as SkillsWorldLive radio show, the next morning we place the FE podcast recording in the FE Voices section.

Sector News

In sector news we have a blend of content from Press Releases, education resources, reports, education research, white papers from a range of contributors. We have a lot of positive education news articles from colleges, awarding organisations and Apprenticeship Training Providers, press releases from DfE to Think Tanks giving the overview of a report, through to helpful resources to help you with delivering education strategies to your learners and students.

Podcasts

We have a range of education podcasts on FE News, from hour long full production FE podcasts such as SkillsWorldLive in conjunction with the Federation of Awarding Bodies, to weekly podcasts from experts and thought leaders, providing advice and guidance to leaders. FE News also record podcasts at conferences and events, giving you one on one podcasts with education and skills experts on the latest strategies and developments.

We have over 150 education podcasts on FE News, ranging from EdTech podcasts with experts discussing Education 4.0 and how technology is complimenting and transforming education, to podcasts with experts discussing education research, the future of work, how to develop skills systems for jobs of the future to interviews with the Apprenticeship and Skills Minister.

We record our own exclusive FE News podcasts, work in conjunction with sector partners such as FAB to create weekly podcasts and daily education podcasts, through to working with sector leaders creating exclusive education news podcasts.

Education Video Interviews

FE News have over 700 FE Video interviews and have been recording education video interviews with experts for over 12 years. These are usually vox pop video interviews with experts across education and work, discussing blue sky thinking ideas and views about the future of education and work.

Events

FE News has a free events calendar to check out the latest conferences, webinars and events to keep up to date with the latest education news and strategies.

FE Newsrooms

The FE Newsroom is home to your content if you are a FE News contributor. It also help the audience develop relationship with either you as an individual or your organisation as they can click through and ‘box set’ consume all of your previous thought leadership articles, latest education news press releases, videos and education podcasts.

Do you want to contribute, share your ideas or vision or share a press release?

If you want to write a thought leadership article, share your ideas and vision for the future of education or the future of work, write a press release sharing the latest education news or contribute to a podcast, first of all you need to set up a FE Newsroom login (which is free): once the team have approved your newsroom (all content, newsrooms are all approved by a member of the FE News team- no robots are used in this process!), you can then start adding content (again all articles, videos and podcasts are all approved by the FE News editorial team before they go live on FE News). As all newsrooms and content are approved by the FE News team, there will be a slight delay on the team being able to review and approve content.

 RSS IconRSS Feed Selection Page