Embrace HE

Embrace HE - Enabling mental health benefits: resilience, achievement, competencies and engagement in improved higher education policy and practice for student wellbeing.

A student discussing his mental health concerns with a lecturer.

Embrace HE is a project specially designed to help address problems of mental health and lack of wellbeing in students in higher education. The mental health and wellbeing of youth in Europe is a high concern. Students often suffer anxiety, depression, attempted suicide and serious mental health problems. If not addressed, many of these problems can continue onto later life. The project is part of a KA2 strategic partnership, with Birmingham City University acting as the lead with partners from Spain, Lithuania, Greece and Serbia.

This project mobilises partners from across Europe to focus upon this ongoing problem for all HE settings, to create tools to help staff better address mental health and wellbeing issues in student populations. The EMBRACE HE consortium team is comprise of:

  • Birmingham City University, UK;
  • Universidad de Navarra, Spain;
  • University Crete, Greece;
  • Vilinius University, Lithuania
  • The educational NGO, the Western Balkans Institute from Serbia.

These partners represent a strong geographical reach and engagement in networks across Europe and also are from countries that experience different types of mental health and wellbeing issues with HE student populations.

Research aims

The beneficiary group will be students across Europe, in every type of HEI context, studying from foundation level to doctoral studies. EMBRACE HE will:

  • Design and create a programme of activities that will bring together best practices in an easily implemented format to support HEI's in supporting student mental wellbeing.
  • Provide training, tools and resources for academics and academic-related staff in HE, who support students,
  • Create policy resources for HE wide implementation and action planning, structured activities at the institutional, systems and class room levels, to support good student wellbeing,
  • Share and disseminate the above and have impact in Europe and beyond, in enhancing the capacity of HE to support student wellbeing needs.

Proposed impact

The results of the project will be a positive enhancement of practice in working with student mental health and wellbeing in 25 percent of higher education providers in Europe, with 30,000 downloads of the toolkits and other resources from the website, multiplication events and webinars will lead to over 50,000 participants using Embrace HE resources over the project lifetime.

The project will have high impact because it's free and open resources and networking opportunities on the Embrace HE website will facilitate and encourage more innovative responses to mental health and wellbeing across the HE sector and support further future positive change. The longer term benefits will be that HE will become more responsive with increased student mental health and wellbeing initiatives and that other projects can build on this foundation, leading to high standards of mental health and support for students across the EU and beyond.