Transitions between school, further education (FE) college and university can put pressure on students’ mental health, according to a report published today by Centre for Mental Health and the Charlie Waller Memorial Trust.
Finding our own way explores the impact of transitions into and between further and higher education on students’ mental health, and looks at ways these can be improved. It finds that going to FE college or university involves several periods of transition, all of which can affect a young person’s mental health.
The report, which sought the views of young people and school staff, found that many students experience worries about academic demands, living at university, making friends and financial pressures. School is generally viewed as a supportive ‘safe’ environment, with staff and students expressing concerns that students would become just a ‘face in the crowd’ at university or FE college.
Evidence suggests that an increasing number of students are seeking support from counselling and mental health services whilst at FE college or university. However there are a number of barriers to asking for help, including stigma, poor communication about the help available, and a lack of understanding or knowledge amongst staff. Some students face a higher risk, including those with previous mental health difficulties, those from disadvantaged backgrounds, international students and LBGT+ students.
Finding our own way makes nine recommendations for changes across different systems to support students to make successful transitions, including: