Snake oil or panacea: can technology improve student mental health?
Universities are hoping that new technologies will ease rapidly growing demand for student mental health services, but the evidence they work isn’t always there
Rising numbers of student suicides and dramatic increases in demand for support services have led to claims of a university mental health crisis. Earlier this month, a survey revealed students were significantly more anxious than other young people. The issue has become a focus for regulator the Office for Students, which recently announced funding for projects investigating solutions. Even Theresa May chose to spend her remaining time as prime minister announcing a £1m competition to come up with innovative ways of improving student mental health.
Many of these responses depend on technology. How universities can use data to identify at-risk students, whether new apps developed to support those with mental health problems actually work, and what the benefits and limits of technology might be was the subject of a roundtable discussion, held at the Guardian’s offices in London earlier this month and supported by Jisc, the digital agency for universities. The roundtable involved senior academics, technology experts and others with in-depth knowledge of student mental health.Continue reading...