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A free digital mental health toolkit is now available to University of Oxford students as part of a research trial led by the university’s Department of Psychiatry.

Nurture U logo

Nurture-U is a national project aiming to find better ways to support university students’ mental health and wellbeing. Around 200 students have already helped shape the research and fed into the production of the toolkit to make it as useful and relevant as possible.

It comes as the number of students at UK universities with mental health conditions has doubled since 2015. A survey by Nurture-U, found 15 per cent of Oxford University students rated their mental health as poor or very poor, while more than a third (34 per cent) reported high levels of anxiety and depression.

Powered by i-Spero, the Nurture-U Well-Being Toolkit can be used to assess different elements of mental health and well-being and track how users feel over time. It will also direct users to university and community support services, and provide recommendations specifically tailored to each student.

Dr Kevin Matlock, who is the project manager at Oxford, said:


There is a growing need for mental health support among university students, but BA, MA, PhD Kevin Matlock - Postdoctoral Researchermany apps only provide general information. The online Nurture-U Well-Being Toolkit is designed based on student feedback to allow for customisable plans and assessments. As a stand-alone, self-directed mental health aid or a supplement to ongoing counselling or pastoral care, the toolkit is capable of providing recommendations for support that are personalised to each individual.”

Students can also use the toolkit to share their unique mental health profile with a counsellor in the university’s Student Welfare and Support Service.

The toolkit has been available to other universities already but this is the first time students at University of Oxford can access it with bespoke information for them. The toolkit will continue to be tested in the trial to ensure it is as useful as possible.

Students at Oxford can also suggest ideas for Nurture-U projects, including Nurture-U, at any time by registering to be a paid member of a Student Advisory Group.

As part of a connected project - the Staff Support and Student Well-Being Study, which is a collaboration between Nurture-U, the Psychiatry Department, and Oxford’s Student Welfare and Support Services - students and staff members at the University of Oxford can also join an online or in-person focus group to share their perspectives on mental health and help inform the development of other resources and support services. Register here.

Nurture-U is funded by the Medical Research Council, Arts and Humanities Research Council, and the Economic and Social Research Council. It is a collaboration between six UK universities: Exeter, Cardiff, King's College London, Newcastle, Oxford and Southampton.