A newly re-designed app is now available to empower university students to take better care of their health. Providing relevant and reliable information on over 150 mental and physical health issues, the free Student Health App (previously known as ESC Student) allows students to make informed decisions about their health and helps them flourish at university.
Student wellbeing and mental health are in crisis. Over the past 10 years, the proportion of students with mental health problems has risen five-fold, according to the Institute for Public Policy Research. Student suicide numbers are rising, and Universities UK recognise student mental health as a national priority.
Student mental health is also being addressed in parliament, and MP Helen Whately asked the Prime Minister on 21 May 2018 to make student mental health a priority:
I asked the Prime Minister to make the Mental Health of students her next #mentalhealth priority in #PMQs last week @UniversitiesUK @10DowningStreet @rcpsych @YoungMindsUK @StudentMindsOrg pic.twitter.com/b4SsVScJa7— Helen Whately (@Helen_Whately) 21 May 2018
Dr Dominique Thompson, National Student Mental Health Expert and ex-Director of the University of Bristol Students' Health Service, said:
"There has never been a more crucial time for students to have access to reliable, safe, relevant health information. Student numbers are increasing, and demand for health advice and support is also rising. Students need to be able to access credible help fast. The Student Health App provides all of this, on a wide range of topics, from mental and sexual health through to emergencies and travel. They shouldn't leave home without it."
Originally released as 'ESC Student' in 2016, the newly named Student Health App boasts new features such as a more user-friendly home screen, welcome screens for new users and a feature slider providing variable content and links.
The Higher Education Policy Institute said in their report 'Improving Students' Mental Health':
"We recommend that higher education institutions advertise the ESC Student app and encourage its use."
With the Student Health App, students will find reliable answers to (almost) all their health questions in plain language – anywhere, anytime and in private. It has been created by doctors together with a panel of students and student health experts from the University of Bristol Students' Health Service.
The new Student Health App can also be customised for universities to signpost to local student services and resources, so students can easily find the support is available to them in their area.
Dr Knut Schroeder, a GP, Honorary Senior Clinical Lecturer in General Practice at the University of Bristol and Founder of Expert Self-Care, the social enterprise behind the app, said:
"The idea for this app started when I was mentoring students and looking after them as patients. The transition into student life can be a real challenge, and knowing what to do next when faced with a physical or mental health problem can be challenging. Being able to access reliable information and knowing that it's okay to seek help early is key for students – and with our app we enable students to answer many common and important health questions all in one place."
Designed for students and every university in the UK as a new free digital resource, the app will also be helpful to international students who may find it hard to navigate the NHS: