Bobbi Hartshorne, GSA’s Global Head of Student Wellbeing

Global Student Accommodation Group (GSA), today announced that following a successful trial in the UK, its Student Wellbeing Framework will be rolled out across all of three brands Uninest Student Residences, The Student Housing Company and Nexo Residencias. Its student brands are located in 34 global city locations.

The global student accommodation provider has also called for collaboration across more on and off campus university service providers to help improve and promote student wellbeing.

In response to the rapidly growing interest in student wellbeing and mental health around the world, GSA launched a research study in June 2018, titled Student Wellbeing Matters. Exploring on and off campus student wellbeing in the United Kingdom, Germany, Spain and Australia.

The research was conducted by Red Brick Research and commissioned by GSA to better understand the role that purpose built student accommodation (PBSA) plays in enhancing student wellbeing.

Nicholas Porter, chairman of GSA said: “Our student residents are now Gen Z, a generation which continues to wow the world with its conscientious, politically and socially aware approach, its determination to make the world a better place and a keen eye for fairness and value for money. We don’t want to see this generation continuing the struggle with mental health. GSA’s mission is to make a real difference to students’ lives and we are asking to collaborate with universities to break down silos and better integrate mental health provision for students, both on and off campus.”

Bobbi Hartshorne, GSA’s Global Head of Student Wellbeing said: “80% of National Student Housing Survey respondents in the UK said their accommodation has a direct impact on their overall sense of wellbeing. Our research is focused on practical examples of what can be done and the benefits that joined-up action delivers for student mental wellbeing. Following a successful trial, we are now running a Wellbeing Framework across all our residences globally, supporting student residents in 34 cities across eight countries, who have spent a combined 4.3 million nights so far living in with us.”

The research reviewed over 280 articles and 10,000+ pages from the past decade of research across four countries. Tim Daplyn, Managing Director of Red Brick Research said: “Poor mental health is one of the biggest threats to the successful completion of Higher Education. Students who are unhappy with their accommodation are ten times more likely to be unhappy with their whole university experience. Student Wellbeing Matters makes several important recommendations including further collaboration and research to support improvements in the wellbeing of students.”

What is GSA’s Student Wellbeing Framework about?

  • Raising awareness of potential catalysts for stress.
  • Providing opportunities to develop the skills and resilience to overcome these.
  • Involving students in planning and delivering events and activities.
  • Providing staff training and knowledge.
  • Building strong communities.
  • Providing quality in-residence services to support students during vulnerable transitions in their life.

How does it work?

GSA’s 9-pillar framework tackles spiritual, mental, cultural, social, environmental, physical, academic, financial and career needs. Run by Residential Assistants (RAs), GSA has developed schedules based around these pillars, designed to offer all residents a broad variety of locally relevant activities.

The global framework and deliverables remain constant in all countries and residence teams receive training and implement flexible event schedules tailored to local student markets with an average of 4-8 activities per month.

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