Student Involvement

In mental health and disability rights advocacy, the statement ‘no decision about me without me’ is a powerful reminder that while we often think we are doing the right thing to help people, it is important to involve the people we are aiming to support in considering what activities and initiatives might be most useful at particular times. Remembering that students (and staff) may be ‘experts by experience’ is vital to ensuring targeted and relevant support for mental health and well-being.

Co-creation is key to good engagement, and the aim here is to share good practice in getting students involved in considering the resources they need and evaluating what the academic library can offer. It might be a partnership with your university’s students’ union, mental health society, or via your user consultation groups, but the best initiatives always consider how to get students involved. Some initial resources that might be useful:

  • The Office for Students and the five Greater Manchester Universities (University of Manchester, Manchester Metropolitan University, The University of Bolton, The University of Salford, and the Royal Northern College of Music)  have produced a series of podcasts, Trust Me, I’m a Student which explore co-production, including the hows and the whys.
  • The Student Minds toolkit, Co-producing mental health strategies with students: A Guide for the Higher Education Sector which has ideas about different creative ways to get students involved in intervention and activity design.