Glasgow School of Art enhances its mental health support

Universities UK’s Stepchange Framework looks at student mental health and wellbeing through four ‘domains’ of Learn, Support, Work and Live. Universities currently resource a wide range of services to support those experiencing mental illness, as the following example shows.

The Glasgow School of Art has enhanced its longstanding mental health support service by the addition of a full-time equivalent Mental Health Nurse and Mindfulness teacher.

Both services have supplemented existing counselling, enabling the provision of one-to-one and group work sessions, individual mental health support plans for students with complex and enduring mental health needs, and mental health monitoring.

In the academic year 2019/20, 85 students participated in the newly launched mindfulness-based stress reduction sessions, totaling 170 hours of student contact. More broadly, 106 students were referred to the University’s mental health support service during the academic year. All were offered an appointment within an average of one week and students were offered a cumulative total of 453 individual appointments.

Demand for support increased further in the academic year 2020/21, with 139 students attending the mindfulness-based stress reduction sessions and 149 student referrals to the University’s mental health support service. In the academic year 2020/21, a total of 591 individual mental health advisor appointments were offered to students.

The portfolio of available sessions was also increased in 2020/21 to include anxiety management, emotional regulation, a sleep workshop and five steps to wellbeing. Available data shows high uptake, with 58 students attending five separate anxiety management workshop sessions and 34 students attending nine separate mindfulness workshops (which were made available to the whole of GSA).