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“Five hours to sort out your life”: A qualitative study of university students experience of mental health support

Barnett, P; Arundell, L-L; Matthews, H; Saunders, R; Pilling, S; (2021) “Five hours to sort out your life”: A qualitative study of university students experience of mental health support. BJPsych Open 10.1192/bjo.2021.947. Green open access

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Abstract

Background: Previous qualitative research suggests that university students feel that current service provision does not meet their needs. Exploring the reasons for this may help to promote service change, encourage the uptake of care, improve outcomes and increase satisfaction within university services. Aims: This study aimed to improve the understanding of how students experience the process of accessing and using mental health support, barriers and facilitators to treatment, and how students would adapt provision to improve experiences. Method: Semi-structured interviews were conducted with 16 full-time students who had used mental health services at university. Data were analysed using thematic analysis. Results: Five higher-order themes were identified: personalisation and informed choice, simplifying the process, feeling abandoned ignored or invisible, stigma, and superiority of private and external services. Sixteen subthemes were identified within these themes. Conclusions: Findings indicate that access to mental health support should be simplified, with collaboration across university and external health and care services, to prevent students feeling lost or abandoned when seeking care. An inclusive approach to support access and provision of services for all presentations of mental health problems should be developed.

Type: Article
Title: “Five hours to sort out your life”: A qualitative study of university students experience of mental health support
Open access status: An open access version is available from UCL Discovery
DOI: 10.1192/bjo.2021.947
Publisher version: http://dx.doi.org/10.1192/bjo.2021.947
Language: English
Additional information: This is an Open Access article, distributed under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution licence (http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/4.0/), which permits unrestricted re-use, distribution, and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Keywords: University, mental health, psychological interventions, thematic analysis, student support
UCL classification: UCL
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > School of Life and Medical Sciences > Faculty of Brain Sciences > Div of Psychology and Lang Sciences > Clinical, Edu and Hlth Psychology
URI: https://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/10130637
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