University staff encouraged to open up about health and wellbeing

An online survey open to all colleagues working in the Higher Education sector has launched, with the aim of improving how universities across the UK look after their staff.

Date: 10 October 2018

A former London Metropolitan University social work lecturer has launched an online survey as part of her efforts to start a nationwide conversation about health and wellbeing amongst staff in the Higher Education sector.

Vida Douglas, a former London Met Social Work BSc lecturer who now lectures at Brunel University London, is currently undertaking research as part of her PhD thesis. Information from the survey will inform the PhD Vida is pursuing at Nottingham Trent University investigating stress and wellbeing amongst staff work in Higher Education.

Recent media coverage has shown that staff wellbeing is a challenging issue for most universities and Vida believes more needs to be done: “Mental health is a hugely important topic and one I am very passionate about. In recent months, we have seen a huge uptake on people across different industries talking about their mental health and it has a positive impact on people’s health and wellbeing.

“In the Higher Education sector, we are increasingly encouraging our students to talk more, and that is a vital and positive movement, but more needs to be done to encourage our colleagues to talk.”

In July 2018, a national conference held at London Met, brought together more than 100 representatives from 40 universities to discuss the latest research in this area.

Colleagues were encouraged to get involved with discussions in the form of breakout sessions and networking. Suggestions put forward by delegates on the day included the need for more collaborative working amongst universities, a healthier approach to work-life balance and earlier intervention on staff wellbeing.

Attendees were in agreement that more needs to be done in the sector to tackle the wellbeing of staff.

“It’s clear that not enough is being done, or we wouldn’t be having discussions like these,” Vida continued.

“It’s important that we get this right and it’s important that we work together on making a positive difference to the lives of ourselves and our colleagues.”

Please follow this link to take part in the online survey about how you feel about health and wellbeing in Higher Education. The survey is open to those working in the Higher Education sector only.

The survey will be open from until 4 November 2018. The survey is hosted by Qualtrics and all data collected is anonymous.

Vida can be contacted at