HEDQF Event Review: Designing to enhance student mental health

Date & Time:28th November 2018

Around 65 people recently attended a fascinating event hosted by one of HEDQF’s Founder Members BuroHappold Engineering at their London office, with a wide range of inspirational and knowledgeable speakers on the theme of designing for student mental health.  This issue has risen to the top of the agenda of most universities in the UK and US, with huge increases in the number of reported cases of mental health problems in recent years.

Speeches included:

  • Professor Ian Dunn kicked the event off with his perspective as Deputy VC of Coventry University.
  • Professor Miranda Wolpert, Director of the Evidence Based Practice Unit at UCL then gave us her view as a clinical psychologist.
  • Ben Channon of Assael Architecture looked at how the many environmental themes play out in student accommodation.
  • Nichola Garde from My Support College outlined the challenges which people with disabilities – both visible and invisible – have to address, and how her organisation provides support and enables peer-to-peer contact between students.
  • Dr Zachery Spire of UCL’s Bartlett School of Architecture spoke passionately about his experience as a warden in a student residence, and his research into this building type.
  • The talks were rounded off by Neil Smith, BuroHappold’s director of Inclusive Design, and Dr Jamie Anderson, one of their Wellbeing experts, outlining the class leading research they have been doing in this area.

Professor William Leahy, Vice-Provost (Students, Staff and Civic Engagement), Brunel University London commented:

“I attended the event and found it most informative and also most progressive. Hearing about the work so many colleagues are doing in this ‘mental health and the built environment’ space is heartening.  This work, combined with the growing focus on kindness, thoughtfulness and mindfulness in our interactions at university is a real step forward”

This timely event will also inform the HEDQF Annual Conference in June 2019, where the focus will be on Health and Wellbeing.

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