Strathclyde joins student mental health research network

The University of Strathclyde is a member of a new network established to boost research into student mental health and wellbeing in Scotland.

The Scottish Student Mental Health Research Network (ScotSMART) will bring together expert knowledge to help universities develop and co-ordinate research projects to improve current support for students.

ScotSMART will help students’ wellbeing by providing a hub for academics and practitioners to address a broad range of topics and share findings, experiences and data across Scottish Institutions.

The network will collate and explore the latest areas of research in student mental health and wellbeing such as postgraduate mental health, international student wellbeing, widening access and participation, and neurodiversity.

ScotSMART will create a thriving research network by including academics from a range of disciplines, and representatives from professional services, student bodies, support services and chaplaincies at universities across Scotland.

The network will develop initiatives to share ideas and research on key themes, including hosting a website, podcasts, blogs and events.

ScotSMART is Based at the University of Edinburgh and also includes researchers from the University of Glasgow, as well as a student advisory group and Think Positive, a student mental health project hosted by National Union of Students Scotland. Counselling services, mental health services and other UK student mental health networks will also be represented.

Dr Nicola Cogan, a Senior Lecturer in Strathclyde’s School of Psychological Sciences and Health, is a co-founder of ScotSMART. She said: “In ScotSMART, we are coming together to exchange ideas and build a network for research around student mental health in the Scottish context.

“We will be building a critical mass across Scottish institutions to develop a nuanced understanding of the challenges and opportunities which domestic and international students experience while studying in Scotland.

“The challenges can come from issues like the rising cost of living, student debt and pressure around social media, as well as the effects of the pandemic. We have a lot of support services in place, with things like mentoring and buddying programmes, but this holistic approach will help to build even clearer communication channels between students, academics, policy-makers and support services.”

The ScotSMART team has received an Arts & Humanities Network Award grant from the Royal Society of Edinburgh.