UEL announces £2m mental health project

University of East London is using data mining and analytics to identify students struggling with mental health

University of East London is pioneering a big data project to improve student mental health support.

The £2m initiative, supported by the Office for Students (OfS), will use data analytics, student relationship management tools and student support models to find new ways to support students experiencing mental health problems.

The data mining, analytics and customer service information will identify at-risk students and be an ‘early alert’ tool for staff.

Prof Amanda Broderick, vice-chancellor and president of the University of East London, said: “The University of East London recognises that health gain is a pre-condition of learning gain and we are committed to supporting and developing both the mental and physical health and well-being of our students and staff.

“Working alongside our partners, and with the support of the Office for Students, we expect to create workable solutions, which will be shared with peers across the country, to help us create an environment where our students flourish emotionally and physically as well as intellectually.”

To support the big data project, UEL will also hire new intervention counsellors and create a student group in collaboration with the University of East London Students’ Union. The provider will also merge its intervention activities with well-being services, reflecting its new focus on the ‘mental wealth’ of students.

The aim is that by 2021 the university will have delivered real-time support for students struggling with mental health.

Charles Thornburgh, founder of Civitas Learning which is behind the digital infrastructure, said: “When higher education and further education are able to make the most of their learning data, they’re able to know what is working for their students and can better deliver personalized student support at scale.”