Universities to improve mental health support for international students

The University of Leeds is helping to develop a sector-wide approach to supporting the mental health of international students coming to the UK.

The project, one of ten funded by £6 million from the Office for Students, will develop a new set of guidelines and a practical toolkit that will help higher education colleagues develop their own approach to supporting international students in the UK.

Chris Warrington, Head of Student Support at the University of Leeds, said: “Starting study at a new university is an exciting time but may also bring challenges. For international students, adapting to a new country may bring many more, including cultural differences and language barriers, and students may find it useful to access support services.

“This project will examine how higher education institutions can continue to work with international students to establish support that is sensitive to different cultural needs and values. The best practice guidance will then be shared across the whole Higher Education sector.”

The University of Leeds is one of the top 40 most international universities in the world. Every year more than 9,000 international students study at the University, coming from more than 170 countries.

The work will be led by the University of Nottingham in partnership with Leeds, Student Minds – the UK’s student mental health charity based at Leeds University Union – Campuslife, and SOAS University of London.

Rosie Tressler, CEO of Student Minds, said: “Now, more than ever, all organisations that interact with international students need to identify whether we are doing enough to address the added barriers and challenges students face when in a new country with new systems to navigate.

“We’re delighted to be working with Nottingham, Leeds and SOAS – three universities and Students’ Unions with diverse international populations, exciting ideas and real commitment to improving the student experience for international students. Together, with a variety of additional partners, we’re excited to tackle the issues in both a ground-up and strategic way for the benefit of the whole sector.”

Article published 6th June 2019