Mental Health in Higher Education: A Faculty Staff Survey on supporting Students with Mental Health Needs

Sarah Mansbridge, Pras Ramluggun

Research output: Contribution to JournalArticlepeer-review


The purpose of this paper is to examine how faculty staff on health and social care programmes support students with mental health issues.
Design methodology and approach
The study used a qualitative survey design to gain in-depth information on faculty staff experiences. Seventy-one faculty staff at two universities in the South East of England out of an eligible population of 115 staff responded to an anonymous online questionnaire which were thematically analysed.
The findings indicated that faculty staff were dealing with uncertainties in providing support to students with mental health needs. They reported tensions between their academic, professional and pastoral roles. There was a wide recognition that supporting students was physically and emotionally demanding for faulty staff and especially challenging when their roles and expectations were unclear. This was compounded by lack of explicit guidelines and an apparent severed connection between faculty staff and student support services.
Practical implications
A need for clearly defined roles and responsibilities for faculty staff in supporting students with mental health needs including a review of their pastoral role were identified. The study reinforces the need for effective collaborative arrangements and collective decision making and clearer procedures in the planning and implementation of students’ personal support plans. A concerted effort into adopting a transpersonal approach which incorporates mental health staff awareness training, restorative spaces for reflection and supportive pathways for faculty staff.
Original languageEnglish
JournalHealth Education
Publication statusAccepted/In press - 2 Jul 2022


  • Higher education students’ mental health
  • Faculty Staff/academics
  • Personal tutor/academic advisor
  • health and social care programmes
  • student personal support p


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