An interview with Jill Anderson about the Mental Health in Higher Education project
The UK-based project Mental Health in Higher Education (mhhe) sets out to increase networking and sharing innovative approaches to learning and teaching about mental health and distress across the disciplines in higher education. An important feature of this project is that it advocates for the involvement of service users and carers in mental health education, teaching and training. I had the great opportunity to interview the coordinator of mhhe, Jill Anderson (department of Educational Research at Lancaster University) about the project and new pedagogical approaches that it has engendered.
HK: What motivated the development, in the UK, of the Mental Health in Higher Education (mhhe) project?
JA: That’s an interesting question. It means thinking back a decade or so. . . . Creation of the project predated my appointment as development worker. There were, I think, two drivers.
First, there was an awareness that if people experiencing mental health difficulties are to receive the services they need, delivered in ways that work for them, then professionals need to work together across the disciplines in health and social care. That kind of collaboration doesn’t come easy. It has to be learned, through interprofessional education initiatives aimed at beginning practitioners. And – here’s the rationale for the project – if those, in turn, are to be effective then there is a need for educators in a higher education context to learn together too.