The report found that 100% of participants said they would recommend the Student Mental Health Agreement project, whilst 83% said that taking part ensured that student mental health remained a key priority for the institution and students’ association.
Think Positive is a Scottish Government funded student mental health project at NUS Charity that works with colleges, universities and students’ associations across Scotland to help create a more joined up student mental health support sector.
The Think Positive project, which is free to take part in, empowers institutions and students’ associations to work together and for their work to be directed by the experiences of students. This has resulted in over 3,200 students across Scotland getting involved in the project, including developing and delivering truly student-centred mental health support in 2022/23.
Their recently launched #HelpingStudentsThrive Campaign, that was coproduced with students to help tackle mental health stigma in education, reached 19,168+ people. Whilst the Think Positive Hub, a one-stop shop for student mental health support, was viewed for a total of 413 hours over 52,081 webpages.
The survey of Think Positive participants also found that:
- 67% of participating institutions now have a Student Mental Health Agreement in place, whilst 33% are in the process of developing one.
- 100% agreed that as a result of attending the training, they feel better equipped to cocreate their mental health work with students.
- 69% said taking part in the SMHA project enabled them to see what they are doing well as well as areas for further development
- 59% said their mental health support offer had developed as a result of their taking part in the project.
- 48% gained a better understanding of the mental health needs of students.
- 45% said it ensured that they have a clear mental health support offer in one place, making it more accessible to students who are struggling, and;
- 45% said it improved how their mental health work is monitored and evaluated.
Commenting, one participant said:
“We have taken part in the SMHA for the last few years and the support from Think Positive has always been excellent. They help to create a space for engagement and co-creation with other institutions, as well as providing opportunities for reflection on how to improve on the offer of student mental health support available at the College. This service is invaluable at any time with regards to mental health support but even more so as a result of the challenges over the last few years. Mental health is an area where increasing resources and support is vital in continuing to support students, and as a result staff, within further and higher education.”
Commenting, NUS Scotland President, Ellie Gomersall, said:
“We are so proud of the amazing work that NUS Scotland does through the Think Positive project. I know first-hand how essential Think Positive is to our member students’ associations, as well as to the students we represent.
“Student mental health is often neglected, which has led to this crisis in which over 60% of students report having low mental wellbeing. Think Positive is leading the way in changing this by working with students and institutions to prioritise students’ mental health throughout all their work.”