What is the SITUATE project?
Led by the University of Sussex and delivered in partnership with the Mental Health Foundation, the SITUATE project will develop and provide a programme of activities which promote positive mental health and well-being of higher education students.
Why was this project established?
This project was developed in response to the need for young adults to have information and strategies that they can use to protect and sustain their mental health as they adjust to post-school study and work.
Who does it help?
The project will focus on college and university students, mainly first-year undergraduates experiencing the critical transition into adulthood and higher education.
When and where does it take place?
The SITUATE project will run for two years and be delivered to the University of Sussex campus and several local colleges in Brighton.
What does it hope to achieve?
The project's overarching aim is to produce a sustainable, best practice model for the higher education sector that supports students and promotes positive mental health and wellbeing outcomes. Key outcomes include enhancing mental health literacy and the development of healthy coping strategies for maintaining positive mental health throughout university life.
The Mental Health Foundation’s highly successful Peer Education Project will be adapted for a higher education setting, utilising the strengths of peer-led education and mental health literacy programmes to promote positive mental health outcomes for university students. The Foundation will also be working with students to develop a series of campaign messages for delivery on social media to enhance mental health literacy across the wider student cohort and to enhance student engagement with the project co-design and delivery of activities.
What does SITUATE have to do with prevention?
75% of adults with mental health problems experienced the first onset of symptoms before the age of 24
Young adults also show lower rates of help-seeking and cite a lack of confidence and worries of being judged as reasons behind their reluctance to seek help for mental health needs when they arise. University students’ mental health is often impacted by the experience of multiple transitions, such as changing home environments, moving away from friends and family, and the need for increased self-reliance.
Mental health problems at university are increasing while mental health services on campus are reportedly oversubscribed, indicating a strong case for preventing difficulties before they arise and the need for early intervention for students who experience mental health difficulties whilst at university.