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‘Feeling less stressed’ – Cardiff Metropolitan University

The client

Cardiff Metropolitan University (CMU) is a prestigious university in the heart of Wales’s capital. Committed to innovation and with high rates of student satisfaction, CMU educates around 10,000 students annually.

The challenge

CMU’s existing counselling services were coming under increasing pressure, with long waiting lists and a need for out-of-hours support to reduce incidences of crisis. There was also a concern that harder-to-reach students were not coming forward, due to issues of cultural stigma, problems around accessibility, and a lack of engagement (UK-wide, some 75% of those struggling with mental health issues cannot or will not reach out for support).

CMU wanted to:

  • connect students with innovative, low-level mental health and wellbeing support, with sound clinical underpinning
  • provide self-management tools, to act as early intervention and crisis prevention.

How we helped

Having commissioned Big White Wall in December 2017, CMU offers clinically moderated online support, 24/7, in addition to its existing services. This has proven to be cost-efficient and the service is scalable, with no limit to the number of students who can use it.

Students can discuss mental health issues in a safe environment without fear or judgement, with free access to the BWW Support Network (24/7 anonymous peer support, moderated and facilitated by clinicians) and Guided Support courses (online programmes to learn coping skills on a range of wellbeing topics). The service is immediately available by self-referral from a valid university e-mail address, or by referral from the CMU counselling team, Campus-wide marketing brings the service to students’ attention.

Results

Between December 2017 and May 2018, over 320 CMU students registered to use Big White Wall – 4% of the student population. For many of these students BWW was their sole source of support, while for others it was the initial support they received before they engaged with other services.

In a recent survey, 93% of CMU respondents said that they used the service outside of office hours. 79% reported that BWW had helped to improve their personal wellbeing, most commonly in terms of ‘dealing with problems’ and ‘feeling less anxious/ stressed.’ 71% said they found the service helpful, and 79% would recommend BWW to others. The service reaches a diverse mix of CMU members, proving that digital doesn’t have a ‘type.’

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