Taking Student Mental Health Seriously

 Students Supporting Students

Have only just learned of Student Minds.

Did you know: Students, after joining university, are more anxious and more likely to develop depression? It’s no surprise, university can be a stressful and daunting environment. Estimates show that around 25% of all students experience distress at a worrying level. The move away from home is particularly stressful, inducing symptoms of anxiety. In the case of one fifth of students, reaching levels of clinical significance mid-way through second year. We found that most students are most likely to talk to their peers, primarily their friends. However, this can not always be a comfortable experience.

 Student Minds was chosen as the supported charity at this year’s Times Higher Leadership and Management Awards. The organisation believes we should take student mental health issues much more seriously:

If tackled early we have the opportunity to prevent the development of more severe mental health problems. Early adult life is a crucial stage in the transition from adolescence independence as an adult. Underachievement or failure at this stage can have long-term effects on self-esteem and the progress of an individual’s life. The opportunity to share experiences can help break down isolation and the format of a group can boost motivation, and the informality of a group session run by Student Minds volunteers – groups do not have waiting lists, and students can self-refer, using the support as and when they feel they need it. Finally, we do not keep records of attendance, removing the concern that accessing help will reflect negatively on a student’s CV or university record.

 It’s a great range of activities and clearly making a really valuable contributuon on campuses around the country. The University of Nottingham Students’ Union is also involved:

Student Minds Nottingham (formerly known as UoN Mental Wealth) is a campaigns group that works to promote positive wellbeing and mental health for students whilst studying at UoN.

Our objectives are:

– to tackle the issue of social isolation and stigma of mental health.

– to enhance the mental health provision within the university.

– to break down potential barriers to students and provide opportunities for personal development for students.

We run support groups with the help and training of Student Minds.

We also run events and workshops over the academic year to inform people about mental health conditions and break down barriers.


Universities do, of course, provide services to support students with mental health issues but the work of Student Minds seems to provide a valuable complement to these. This is particularly important given the challenges to public mental health services for young people.

So, a great charity and do hope it continues to grow and provide excellent support for students.



Another international prize

A good night at the THELMAs


Terrific result for the University of Nottingham’s Asia Business Centre at last night’s THE Leadership and Management Awards (the THELMAs). Although we were less fortunate in two other categories this was a great achievement for the ABC team. In the citation it was noted that Nottingham’s entry was outstanding and

had built on its trusted international reputation and established presence in Asia to create a knowledge exchange strategy that is…creating vital links between the university and business in the UK and Asia.

A really good night then. And congratulations to the other winners too.

Nottingham wins a THELMA

THE Leadership and Management Awards 2011: Outstanding Communications and Marketing Team

The full details of the results in each category can be found on the THE site. An earlier post reported the nominations Nottingham had received.

On a really entertaining evening this was a terrific win for the University of Nottingham. And this is what the judges said:

“Highly innovative, collaborative and novel in its approach to marketing.”
These were some of the judging panel’s comments about the University of Nottingham, where effective marketing has “changed public perceptions about the institution globally and supported a cultural sea change internally”.
Nottingham set out ambitious yet achievable targets to enhance the univer- sity’s brand, while at the same time saving at least £200,000 by resourceful tendering and bringing web marketing work in- house. The team oversaw a university-wide rebrand, as well as updating Nottingham’s visual identity and logo. Its efforts are credited with contributing to a 14 per cent increase in the number of undergraduate applications and a 29 per cent rise in the number of postgraduate applications.
Nottingham calculated its media coverage for the year at an advertising value of £24 million. It also raised its overseas profile by participating in the 2010 Shanghai Expo world fair.
Cary Cooper, chair of the Academy of Social Sciences, distinguished professor of organisational psychology and health at Lancaster University and one of the judges, said: “The marketing and communications team at Nottingham has demonstrated [itself] this past year to be highly innovative, collaborative and novel in its approach.” He praised the team for using the full range of social media to reach out to students, as well as for a public relations campaign highlighting the university’s research.

This really is great and highlights the excellent work being done by colleagues in Communications and Marketing. Outstanding indeed!

Universities are “well-managed” shock

Remarkable speech at THE Leadership and Management Awards 2011

The THELMAs ceremony, on 16 June, was remarkable for a number of reasons. Not least the fact that Julian Clary was hosting. But perhaps the most surprising thing was the speech by David Willetts. First, it lasted barely a minute: realising that he was all that lay between the audience and their dinner he kept it extremely brief. Secondly, and even more significantly, he praised universities. He described us in glowing terms. He said we were well-managed. And well led. And that everyone working in universities was doing really rather well and that we were all highly valued.

I must admit to being rather gobsmacked by this. Whilst some might take issue with a possible mismatch between these words and some of the government’s other deeds, to me he sounded sincere. Given that the traditional mantra from Whitehall has been that universities are poorly managed and badly organised this was extremely refreshing.

Thank you Minister.

Nottingham shortlisted in THELMAs 2011

THE Leadership and Management Awards 2011 Shortlist Announced

Times Higher Education has published the shortlist for the 2011 THELMAs

Having sifted through almost 200 entries from 95 different institutions, we can now unveil the shortlist for the Times Higher Education Leadership and Management Awards 2011.

The shortlisted entrants are competing in 16 categories ranging from top library team and best in marketing and communications to the outstanding student services team and those who have delivered the best departmental administration. Other categories cover procurement, research management, university finance and human resources.

Ann Mroz, editor of THE, said: “Our annual awards always serve as a reminder of the extraordinary quality and dedication of those working in our universities and colleges.

“This year is no exception. Our sector, like every other, has already gone through some tough times and is facing more turbulence as the new funding regime beds in. But a glance at the shortlist for our Leadership and Management Awards is enough to instil confidence that we have the right people in place to continue to prosper and deliver the world-class higher education for which the country is rightly renowned.”

All very nice. But the best bit is that the University of Nottingham has six nominations. It really is extremely impressive and reflects fantastically well on the calibre, commitment and quality of delivery of our professional services staff. We may not win them all; we may not win any, but it’s still a really good achievement. Thank you THE!