Student Wellbeing in IGHI Postgraduate Education and Mental Health Awareness Week:

Students informally chatting in a classroom
IGHI postgraduate students at a workshop

The Institute of Global Health Innovation (IGHI) is proud to support the Mental Health Foundation this Mental Health Awareness Week – 13 to 19 May. Student Mental Health and Wellbeing (MH&W) has always been an area of focus of the Institute of Global Health Innovation’s Education department. Across its postgraduate courses, the majority of which are delivered online, the IGHI aims to train and develop future leaders in the healthcare sector. We currently host over 400 students studying on a range of post-graduate programmes within the Institute.

In early 2023, a team of Teaching Fellows within IGHI formed a working group to review and identify areas of development within our approach to supporting student mental health and wellbeing. This group grew into the Student Wellbeing in IGHI Postgraduate Education (SWIPE) team. SWIPE undertook a data collection project involving both external colleagues from other universities within the UK who were involved in the delivery of online post-graduate taught (PGT) courses and IGHI students.

Cover page of Interim Report into a Proposed Student Mental Health & Wellbeing Strategy’

We are very excited to share the resulting ‘Interim Report into a Proposed Student Mental Health & Wellbeing Strategy’ to coincide with Mental Health Awareness Week. The report summarises the key findings of the data collection project and includes a list of key areas where changes in practice could lead to improved outcomes, as well as a list of both practical recommendations and broader improvements. The report will be of interest to academics and other professionals involved in the delivery of online PGT programmes.

Read the report

Another important finding of the report was the worryingly small size of the evidence base related to the mental health and wellbeing of online PGT students – it is no surprise that there is also a shocking lack of guidance and examples of best practice on how to best support the mental wellbeing of these students.

The existing evidence base has already shown that there are particular challenges to being an online PGT student. Some of these overlap with the general experience of being an online student in any setting, such as isolation and fewer opportunities to interact with teaching and support staff. Other issues, however, are more likely to affect PGT online students. For example, these students are more likely to be undertaking their studies alongside working a full-time job and/or juggling caring and familial responsibilities. As the online PGT offering expands, and the number of online PGT students grows, there is an urgent need to explore issues related to the mental health and wellbeing of current and future students on these online PGT programmes.

Students informally chatting in a classroom
IGHI postgraduate students at a workshop

Creating a network

Alongside the report, one of the key planned outcomes of the work undertaken by SWIPE to date is the creation and development of a collaborative research network to bring together colleagues who work on – or are interested in – PGT online education. This network will serve as both a space where best practice can be shared but will also allow access to larger samples of students, which will help drive the production of high-quality evidence on how best to support the mental health and wellbeing of this student population.

Two people face each other to chat

The SWIPE team are currently building on existing internal and external collaborations to launch a network of professionals in Higher Education across the UK with an interest in the student experience of online postgraduates, the CROPS (Collaborative Research for Online Postgraduate Students) network. While the focus will initially be on mental health and wellbeing, it is hoped that the work of the network will extend to other aspects of the delivery of online PGT offerings.

Please follow IGHI on X or LinkedIn for more news related to the CROPS network! A launch event is being planned for the summer of 2024.


If you are interested in connecting with the SWIPE team, either in relation to CROPS or SWIPE’s work in general, you can reach us at

To find out more about other events organised by Imperial College in the scope of Mental Health Awareness week, visit the Mental Health Awareness Week 2024 page of the Imperial website.

Find out more about our postgraduate programmes: Healthcare and Design; Health Policy; Digital Health Leadership