We have reached a very exciting point in the Well Connected project as we now have a populated website that we will be launching (in a beta version) very soon. This has been the result of many hours of hard work by a group of dedicated people to produce a website that will provide University of Sheffield students with access to well researched, well reviewed and engaging content to enable them to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
As we are about to go live with the website it seems an appropriate time to reflect on what has been achieved. We have carried out a comprehensive scoping review of 15 major topics affecting students and assessed the quality of current online resources available. We reviewed over 1000 web pages and have taken the best bits from the web to help inform the creation of the content on Well Connected. Over 100 pages of content have been written but as we were never intending to re-invent the wheel most of our pages contain links to some of the excellent existing support and information available on the web.
It has been hard task to write just enough content to make Well Connected a helpful destination while also being a mental wealth hub linking students to further resources. We have had some amazing student consultants tell their own powerful stories of university life and we are looking for more from the resilient University of Sheffield students to really make this resource something by them for them.
Is what we have created any good though? Well we connected with our colleagues at the university and in the health service to peer review the content and they have been broadly agreed with the content. Our next task is to take on board their comments and edit accordingly. A well researched, well written website sounds good but it will only be a success if University of Sheffield students are motivated to use it and find what it has to say useful. To ensure this is the case we are running 3 focus groups to check their responses in May and we will also be adding a survey function on the beta version so we can collect feedback to improve the site.
Websites, similar to any train station (see previous blogs) provide lots of information for people in many formats helping you work out how to get to where you want to be. This assumes though that people know where they want to go. For many young people, especially those currently struggling with a set of difficulties they do not necessarily know where they want to go, or what is wrong or even what might help. All they know is they don’t want to be in the place they are right now. Imagine how hard that must be if you were desperate at a train station not knowing where to go to feel better but knowing you need to get away from where you currently are. This is why Well Connected has included a Self Check for students to take. This Self Check is a reliable, valid and well used psychological outcome measure called the CORE OM
To explain how it works once a student (or staff member) completes the Self Check (and no the information is not stored by the system) then a personalised response is produced. Based on the answers given the response will offer advice and useful links or contacts for the issues the Self Check has raised. A website that helps you decide which journey may be healthiest for you. If only National Rail could do that as well!
Oh and just to toot our own horn (do trains still do that?) some of the project team are going to a national research conference in Edinburgh in a few weeks to present the early stages of the Well Connected project. We also presented Well Connected to Student Services staff at the Staff Briefing and this presentation seemed to go down well. You can view the presentation on this link http://prezi.com/f03mbl8vx3cm/copy-of-well-connected/ (you only need to watch the first 3 or 4 minutes of each video except the last one which you are allowed to smile and tap your feet at all the way to the end!)
We have had a really healthy number of staff approach us about the project which has been really gratifying. It has certainly made us think about how we should join the dots a bit more to all the other excellent work going on in the University of Sheffield Student Services Department.
so all aboard we're nearly ready for departure.