A new online tool designed and developed by Jisc in partnership with London Higher, a consortium of London universities, will help thousands of students across London access nearby mental health and wellbeing support.
Launched at the University of Westminster as part of London Higher Education Week, the new website Wellbeing Connect will be available to students and support staff at 15 London universities who partnered on the project. It will allow users to instantly find specific, trusted and tailored NHS and other wellbeing services in London local to them. The site will also flag which services are known to one of the consortium’s member institutions.
The tool can be used on both PC and mobile phones and returns information in text as well as allowing users to search using an interactive map. The tool presents NHS provider information gathered using an NHS application programming interface (API) to ensure accuracy, as well as additional wellbeing service providers. Jisc and London Higher consulted both support staff and students throughout the development process to make sure that the tool was easy to use and reflected the real-world needs of the consortium members.
Karen Foster, executive director for data analytics at Jisc, said:
"Helping students get access to support for their wellbeing is critical and this tool helps students and staff quickly navigate to find help for their specific needs and in their local area. The tool and its design have been delivered through excellent collaboration with London Higher, institutional staff and students, and Jisc as the technology partner."
Dr Diana Beech, CEO of London Higher, said:
"Student services in London are very familiar with the NHS services in their local area. However, London is vast, and the city's students are geographically diverse. Some may be moving into London for the first time, or from a different area of the city where provision is different.
“This tool aims to make finding nearby NHS services for London's students easier and helps students and staff to use and recommend services that are trusted and proven through existing institutional relationships."
Sally Olohan MBE, head of student support and residential life, University of Westminster, and chair of the Wellbeing Connect steering group, said:
“We are delighted to launch Wellbeing Connect today. The development of this tool shows how institutions across London can come together to support students across the city, no matter where they live or study.
"Working collaboratively, we have been able to engage student services practitioners and students across the capital throughout the development process. This has ensured that the tool reflects the needs of our students, improving access to information about NHS and other specialist services that can make a real difference to their health and wellbeing while they are studying.”