By Press Office 08 May 2019

A Queen Margaret University (QMU) programme designed to address the challenges of identifying and delivering early intervention support to students with mental health or wellbeing issues has been shortlisted for a national award.

The University’s Stay-on-Course initiative has been shortlisted for the Supporting Student Wellbeing Award in The Herald Higher Education Awards 2019.

The University’s Wellbeing Adviser, who manages the Stay-on-Course programme, engages with students who have been identified as potentially at risk and in need of support, and works with them to create a bespoke plan to address their needs. Students can also self-refer or be referred to the programme by a staff member. The support offered ranges from guided self-help to professional help from QMU staff (including the University's counselling service, disability service, the student funding service, and careers and employability services) to external help (from a GP, the NHS, local charities, etc.).

It is well known that when students experience wellbeing issues, including mental ill health, they can become withdrawn, disengaged and isolate themselves from student life, which can make it difficult for support to be provided to them. This isolation often makes it difficult for them to reach out to ask for help.

QMU’s Stay-on-Course aims to:

  • increase attendance of classes;
  • increase progression and retention; and
  • improve student experience and satisfaction.

Dr Iliyan Stefanov, Head of Student Services at QMU, said: “I am delighted that Stay-on-Course, which is supported by the entire teams of Student Services, ResLife, ELS, Sport Centre and Student Union’s Help ZONE, has been shortlisted for this award. At QMU we are committed to providing our students with the very best advice and support to help them succeed.

“Stay-on-Course is one element of a wider approach to support the wellbeing of our students. More than 25 percent of QMU staff have been trained in mental health first aid and further training is being provided to students made possible through funding from the Big Lottery Fund’s Young Start programme. A strong collaboration has been forged between the University, our Students’ Union, and the wider community in East Lothian which ensures we all work together for the benefit of our students.”

The winners will be announced at an awards dinner on the evening of Wednesday 5 June 2019 at the Crowne Plaza Hotel, Glasgow.

Notes to Editor

1. To find out more about Queen Margaret University's (QMU) Stay-on-Course programme, click here.

2. For further media information please contact Karen Keith (Media Relations and Content Officer) at Queen Margaret University, Edinburgh, E: kkeith@qmu.ac.uk T: 0131 474 0000.

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