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Support for International Students

According to Student Minds’ latest report, of those international students who reported having a current or previous mental health issue, only 23% had shared this to their university. With less than a quarter of international students accessing support for their mental health, more can and must be done to support students.

With campaigns including Mental Health Awareness Week occurring in May each year, efforts are being made in the UK to reduce the stigma associated with mental health struggles.

This is not always the case for international students studying in the UK, though, who may still feel impacted by said stigma.

In the National Student Housing survey coordinated by Global Student Living Index, Nurtur Student Living found that 31% of students at home in their buildings noted homesickness as a factor having a significant impact on their personal wellbeing, with 24% noting loneliness.

Not only are international students affected by the above, but this has been exasperated by the knock-on effect of the global pandemic.

The uncertainty around national lockdowns, coupled with language and cultural barriers, has continued to create worry amongst international students studying here in the UK.”

Although in the same survey around two in three students stated that their accommodation had a positive impact on their wellbeing, only 21% of students strongly agreed that their Students’ Union cares about their wellbeing. As a service dedicated to the student community, what more can be done to increase that figure?

A framework developed by Student Minds – The Mentally Healthy SUs Framework – aims to provide guidelines to support the adoption of a whole-union approach to mental health and wellbeing. This Mentally Healthy SUs Framework focuses on better signposting and communication for accessing advice, services, and information.

Student Unions support many wellbeing facilities, with funding often assigned to services including telephone lines and support groups. But how widely is this framework being adopted across Student Unions in the UK to ensure it achieves this whole-union approach?

Given the correct resources and procedures, Student Unions’ can play a vital role in mental health and wellbeing in the community.

Accommodation providers also have a huge responsibility in ensuring processes are efficient enough to help combat the stigma associated with mental health and be equipped with the resources needed to handle mental health and wellbeing responsibly.

That is why Nurtur Student Living ensures all employees complete a Mental Health First Aid qualification, and partner with Student Minds on an ongoing basis to gain practical skills and an in-depth understanding of mental health to spot the signs of mental health issues.

Written by the Nurtur Team