National website complements Student Health Service provision
The support for student wellbeing is now complemented by studenthälsa.se, a national website providing support and advice.
The website is intended to complement the support already available at higher education institutions across the country. The website was commissioned by the government and is bilingual in Swedish and English.
Student healthcare at Uppsala University is offered through the Student Health Service, located at the University Administration at Uppsala University. This activity will continue but is therefore now complemented by the studenthälsa.se website.
“The new website gives students at all universities a wider range of digital activities,” explains Charlotte Hertzberg, health educator at the University Administration.
Website’s advice could provide support
But can advice and digital activities on a website really help students with varying problems?
“Good advice on a website can help; the Uppsala University Student Health Service’s website, for example, has various lifestyle tests for self-reflection. By taking the tests, a person can start reflecting on themselves and those reflections can lead to changes. The website also offers the opportunity for students to participate in health-promoting activities such as lectures, workshops and 'taster' activities for students, free of charge, together with other students.”
Refer to Uppsala University’s Student Health Service
There are now two different websites for student health support and advice. But does this mean that staff need to find out which website to refer students to depending on the situation?
“In general, I think staff at the University can recommend the Uppsala University Student Health Service website, to which there is a link on studenthälsa.se. If the student expresses a specific wish that cannot be provided by Uppsala University, it may be a good idea to refer to studenthälsa.se. At Uppsala University, for example, we don't have much filmed material; more of that is available on studenthälsa.se.”
Dare to ask
Naturally, all staff who come into contact with students are important figures in the students’ occupational health service. Hertzberg notes that the most important thing is for staff to ask questions and listen to students.
“Dare to ask how the student is doing. Be patient and listen. Try to be curious, ask open questions and summarise and reflect what you are told. You don't need to understand the student's specific feelings, just understand that what the student is describing is difficult for them.
“Once you have listened, you can – if you have the time and the opportunity – offer support and information based on your own expertise and in the context of your role. Support and information could involve listening and checking in with the student later on. Information may include the fact that it is normal to feel low sometimes, that it will pass and that help is available.
“Support the person in telling others or making contact with other services, such as telling others in their network about their condition, contacting helplines, caregivers’ groups, etc. Encourage them to seek professional help, for example through the Student Health Service, the University Church or a health centre.”