Mental Health: How Can Student Accommodation Providers Provide Support
Living away from home for the first time is scary. For a young person with a small sum of money to last an entire semester, the pressures of studying and the move away from their support networks can be the start of serious mental health issues. Sure, to many students it’s all an adventure but to an increasing number the pressure becomes too much. In fact, the number of students leaving university because of mental health issues has more than trebled in the last few years.
Why The Rise In Numbers?
Debt is a huge pressure on students and one of the main reasons for anxiety and other mental health issues. The pressure of rent, bills and general living costs can be difficult for adults with a regular salary so it is unsurprising that students often fall behind with bills etc. forcing them to take on jobs that detract from their studies. This is often a vicious circle between earning enough to support studies and having the time to commit to their courses.
Missing family, home comforts and feeling lonely are also large factors, and as mental health issues slowly begin to lose their stigma, the issue of student mental health is become a more prevalent issue in the news and universities are supporting students through ProtectEd but with large class sizes and hundreds of students, accommodation providers need to work with universities to reach more students, so what can we do to help?
How Can We help?
Firstly, we can design spaces for students that encourage them to be sociable. Fun communal spaces such as TV and games rooms are a good idea; this will likely encourage students to meet like-minded people and make friends. Ensuring that these spaces appear homely and not institutional is paramount to supporting student tenants. Small creature comforts can go a long way to making somebody feel at home.
Social Facilitation is the tendency for people to focus more on simple tasks whilst in the presence of others. Creating a communal workspace could encourage productivity and in turn help alleviate some of the pressure as well as further assisting in combatting feelings of loneliness by working alongside peers.
We can think about the psychology of the spaces we are offering. Colour schemes that promote calmness such as pale blues and greens promote efficiency and focus as well as being calming. Yellow for example is the colour of optimism and promotes creativity and innovation. Working with people who understand what students want and need is incredibly important for developers of student accommodation who want to retain students and suppport their mental health.
There is an art to creating pleasant living spaces that encourage socialising, learning and easy living. Every aspect of the room needs to be considered – even down to the light bulbs used in different rooms. This is something that we’ve perfected over time, we understand students and developers so are able to procure cost efficient products that attract and support students and their mental health and well-being.