Addressing Students’ Mental Health Concerns
Mental health concerns are becoming more common and widespread among students. A poll was taken by the Insight Network, a team of therapists and psychiatrists, of 38,000 UK students in 2018 which found that “psychological distress and illness are on the rise in universities.” With the rise of students experiencing mental health disorders, the demand for more counseling services at higher education institutions increases as well. The Center for Collegiate Mental Health found that “between 2009 and 2015, the number of students visiting counseling centers increased by about 30% on average, while enrollment grew by less than 6%.” As demand for mental health services grows, so does the need for colleges to provide those services to their students.
Mental health is one of the many important tasks that falls under the student services sector of higher education. The topic of mental health was widely discussed at the AMOSSHE annual conference held from July 3-5, 2019. AMOSSHE is an organization that promotes the development and sharing of good practice within Student Services in the UK higher education at a national level. Building communities and strengthening collaboration are key themes for the conference, with a focus on evidence-based practice.
Symplicity was an exhibitor at this year’s conference showcasing Advocate—the most secure platform for recording and tracking concerns about mental health issues, as well as all other types of issues including sexual harassment and assault cases while also providing end-to-end online case management. Symplicity Advocate allows institutions to track concerns about students, providing staff with the ability to intervene appropriately and proactively, supporting the whole institution community, as well as individual students and staff. This solution provides students with a user-friendly way to report any issue on or off campus that they fear may threaten their ability to thrive.
Attendees at the conference had insightful conversations with Symplicity. There was a lot of excitement surrounding a prize drawing that Queen Margaret University won. The most well-received Advocate feature was the ability to early identify students at risk through predictive tools which leads to a safer campus. Higher education institutions need to have a secure, confidential, impartial and accessible platform that allows students and staff to record and track these issues, especially now with mental health concerns on the rise. Advocate provides students with the ability to lessen some of the stress students might be facing after an incident and enable them to easily voice and manage their concerns.