Tell us a bit about your role(s) or team…
The Student Mental Health and Resilience in Transition (SMaRT) team was set up by as an initiative of members of the Lifespan, Health and Wellbeing group at the Department of Psychology. Each of the members has experience in different areas of wellbeing and mental health development.
Our major aim was to derive a better understanding of the factors contributing to student mental health and wellbeing among Warwick undergraduates as they transition to, through and from University. For this we used different approaches, including the perspectives of students and all stakeholders concerned with mental health and wellbeing at the University.
It’s been a great experience to be a part of a team with such varied expertise, and although we see each other in the corridors every day, being a part of this team has helped our research group to create a closer bond towards a common aim.
Tell us about the award-winning project/work and your involvement in it…
The SMaRT team received funding from the University (RDF) in 2016 to run a pilot study to investigate the feasibility of a long-term study at Warwick. This funding was a fantastic vehicle allowing us to do this in-depth pilot project, which now provides the groundwork for planning the long-term study. The pilot study included a questionnaire administered to over 600 undergraduates University-wide, as well as focus group discussions conducted with all relevant stakeholder groups.
Major factors contributing to difficulties faced at university included previous mental health problems (i.e. before coming to University), poor resiliency, poor self-rated health, a lack of close friends, as well as worrying about debt.
Findings were disseminated at an open University-wide dissemination event that was well attended and allowed for a wide discussion of findings and future directions. We plan to conduct a five-year prospective study following students through and from University, with the aim of increasing wellbeing of students through understanding the various aspects of university life that they enjoy or struggle with.
How does it feel to have won the Outstanding Team award?
It feels absolutely brilliant to have this kind of recognition at the University and it makes us very proud and humble. We thank all the students and stakeholders who gave their time to this research and supported the development of a larger initiative.
Why do you think people should get involved with nominating for the University Awards?
There is so much good work being done at this University, which is unfortunately not always known or acknowledged by members outside of your specific field or department. The University Awards are a great opportunity to celebrate the dedication and extraordinary work that so many individuals are involved with in different units and departments across the University.
What was a personal highlight for you from the Awards evening on 18 May?
The hosting duo – they really livened the event up. The lightshow set up and organisation were very professional and made it feel like we were at the Oscars! Those team members who could not be at the event were rather jealous that they missed out the great festive and glittering atmosphere of the Awards ceremony.
The University Awards are a great way for the University to improve and learn from staff initiatives over the year. If you could change one thing at the University, what would it be?
Warwick is a top-rated University, and students come here not just for our high-quality teaching and research, but also for a fantastic student experience. Warwick could focus even more, perhaps in Week 0, on student wellbeing and on making Warwick feel like a truly welcoming and homely place.
What would you like to say to the person – or people – who nominated you?
We would really like to thank Professor Sotaro Kita for nominating us, and taking such an interest in our work, which is very different from his own field of research. His enthusiasm in our work and faith in our future plans is very reassuring, and we are very grateful for his collegiate support.
Enjoyed reading about the SMaRT team's experience? Take a look at more profiles from award winners
It felt like we were at the Oscars! Those team members who could not be at the event were rather jealous that they missed out the great festive and glittering atmosphere of the Awards ceremony."