The Westminster Sociology team recently took part in a day-long workshop on embedding mental health and wellbeing in learning and teaching, led by specialists from AdvanceHE.
After being given our Team Award for Teaching Excellence in 2017, we decided to prioritize the issue of student mental health and use our award money to fund this workshop.
Part of the workshop enabled us to develop our understanding of some of the key issues relating to student mental health in Higher Education. While as sociologists we retain a critical stance towards the structural conditions that can negatively impact on mental health, we are nevertheless interested in the ways in which we can prioritise and enhance students’ mental wellbeing. We are keen to work on increasing our awareness of students’ mental health and to explore areas in which we might foster positive approaches to mental health in our teaching and personal tutoring practice.
We discussed how we might heighten a sense of community in Sociology for both staff and students, as well as how we can use contact time in ways that support students to be active partners in their learning, encouraging them to connect with each other both inside and outside of the classroom.
We had a really enjoyable and productive day, and were able to invite colleagues from English, Psychology and Modern Languages to work with us on this important topic. It is our hope that this workshop will provide a catalyst for future initiatives on mental wellbeing at Westminster.