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Supporting mental health and emotional well-being among younger students in further education

journal contribution
posted on 2023-06-08, 00:48 authored by Ian Warwick, Claire Maxwell, June Statham, Peter Aggleton, Antonia Simon
Over the last 25 years there has been an increase in reported behavioural and emotional problems among young people. Moreover, students in higher education (HE) are reported to have increased symptoms of mental ill health compared with age-matched controls. Some students in further education (FE) are likely to experience similar difficulties, especially as an increasing number may come from backgrounds that may make them more vulnerable to mental health problems. National policies and guidance highlight the importance of promoting the mental health of young people in general and of students in particular. This exploratory study aimed to identify whether, and in what ways, FE colleges were contributing to younger students' (aged 16-19 years) mental health. Interviews with key informants, a survey of FE colleges in England and five case studies of individual FE colleges providing specialised mental-health support services to students revealed some evidence of promising and good practice, but this did not appear to be widespread. Given the current range of college settings, no single approach to improving mental health among students is likely to be the answer. Rather, respondents highlighted a number of factors that influence the provision of support services for students: awareness among professionals of the links between students' mental health and their achievement at college; having in place national and college policies and guidance that address mental health; building an inclusive college ethos; building leadership at senior and middle manager levels; having accessible in-college and/or external support services; and the provision of professional development opportunities for staff.


Publication status

  • Published


Journal of Further and Higher Education




Taylor & Francis





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Department affiliated with

  • Education Publications

Full text available

  • No

Peer reviewed?

  • Yes

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