The BodyMind Approach® to Support Students in Higher Education: The Relationship Between Student Stress, Medically Unexplained Physical Symptoms and Mental Health

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Abstract

Using the UK as an example, students attending higher education providers (HEPs) increasingly suffer mental ill-health due to new stress factors. Relationships between stress, frequently co-occurring chronic medically unexplained symptoms (MUS) and mental health are explored as the basis for proposing The BodyMind Approach® (TBMA) as an innovative intervention, addressing the body and mind experience of MUS. Excessive stress can lead to/exacerbate, mental health difficulties and/or MUS (such as fibromyalgia, chronic fatigue/pain for which tests and scans are normal). MUS mostly affects women, non-native speakers and young people, all high numbers at HEPs. Students resist mental health services, and half in need do not disclose or seek help. TBMA, as an evidence-based, research-informed intervention, tested in the health service, is more accessible when framed as learning to self-manage symptom distress. Policymakers might consider this intervention to help improve student mental health as part of an institution-wide approach.

Original languageEnglish
JournalInnovations in Education and Teaching International
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 24 Jan 2021

Keywords

  • student mental health
  • higher education providers
  • Stress
  • the BodyMind Approach®
  • medically unxplained symptoms
  • medically unexplained symptoms
  • stress
  • Students
  • mental health
  • the BodyMind Approach

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