The COVID pandemic has driven student welfare at LJMU on fast-forward, according to director of Student Advice and Wellbeing (SAW) Yvonne Turnbull.
The University now takes a much more proactive approach to checking on students and monitoring their welfare after students were locked down in halls back in 2020.
“We realised students were potentially on their own in halls and went through a process of ringing every first-year student who we knew who’d moved into halls,” says Yvonne.
“Students living in halls were a massive help and their feedback was invaluable”, prompting SAW staff to change their approach, she said.
“Pre-pandemic it was more based on individual demand and expecting students to ask for what they needed. When the pandemic hit, we realised we needed to be a lot more proactive in our approach.”
Yvonne was speaking at the Students at the Heart Conference in tandem with human resources manager Andy Keegan, who jointly presented ‘Health and Wellbeing: lessons learned from the pandemic, and wellbeing challenges faced as a university going forward’.
They used the talk to outline the current plan to improve health and wellbeing at the university, which came into effect in March 2021.
Andy said being able to work with specialists from the university, and the sharing of short videos about mental health were some of the most effective parts of the plan.
The pair said that looking back the pandemic effected students, as well as those providing help for students in a way that most in the sector weren’t ready for and, looking forward, they stress that there should be “no closed doors” to improving the health and wellbeing of students across the university.
They responded to comments from attendees who had experienced problems finding information and packages on the university website. “There’s some things to take away from today in terms of how we communicate these packages, and how we can engage line managers and disseminate that information,” said Andy.
The key messages that the pair stressed after the talk was about knowing who and where you can get help and advice.
“Just ask a member of staff how you access support. Even if they don’t know the details, they can point you in the right direction,” said Yvonne.
- The Students at the Heart team have funded a number of LJMU Journalism students, in partnership with the university’s Corporate Comms team, to report on and cover the SatH conference in June 2022. With the support of the Journalism School staff, Frances Yeoman and Alan Humphries, these reports have been produced and written by our students showcasing their skills and talents in a professional setting.