PhD student mental health and wellbeing

Research England are supporting research into the wellbeing and mental health of postgraduate students. The work involves an in-depth study of a sample of English higher education institutions and intends to:

  • depict the landscape of mental health support offered to post-graduates and identify any barriers that hinder access;
  • provide insights into how these findings may vary by student and study characteristics and whether any subgroups may be at higher risk; and
  • make recommendations for future research to inform policy interventions to improve this aspect of the higher education experience.

alongside undertaking this study, the former HEFCE issued a catalyst call inviting applications for projects from institutions with post-graduate student populations, to develop and implement sustainable approaches to supporting mental health and wellbeing for these students.

Proposed projects covered a range of areas including:

  • prevention and early intervention approaches which reach a broad range of students;
  • developing and implementing new practice for the pastoral support;
  • enhanced staff training across the institution;
  • working in partnership with statutory health services and third-party organisations to deliver improved support; and
  • considering the whole postgraduate researcher experience and cultural change rather than focusing solely on student service-based interventions.