In a range of ways, the conditions that structure contemporary higher education (outlined in 1.2 Student life in the 21st century
) – such as, under-funding, increasing student numbers and ‘mass’ delivery – may actively make it more difficult for students to maintain autonomous motivation, and to experience belonging, relationships, autonomy and competence.
Those same conditions – combined with increasing workloads, insecurity and ‘casualisation’ in academic employment – may also undermine the mental wellbeing of academic staff. In this context, it may seem unreasonable to ask university educators to consider adopting strategies to support and enhance student mental wellbeing.
Without doubt, the task of fostering student wellbeing in higher education will benefit from a ‘whole-of-university’, if not sector-wide, approach (outlined in our Framework). Fostering student mental wellbeing will also benefit from collaborative partnerships between student groups, professional staff, university administrators and mental health experts and service providers.