Addressing the Needs of Academic Staff in Supporting Students with Mental Health Conditions in Online Programmes at a Distributed University


  • Rachel Stephanie Erskine University of the Highlands & Islands
  • Eilidh MacPhail UHI



academic, mental health, online programmes, students, support


Professional experience prompted the initial discussions of the need to identify increased research and further support for academic staff in teaching online with students who have mental health conditions whether these are disclosed or not at the time of application to a distributed university. With the prevalence of mental health conditions increasing in the general population, it stands to reason that increasing numbers of students with mental health conditions are entering higher education. Studying online is different than being in a face-to-face environment and online teaching staff need to have additional skills to be able to individualise their teaching to cater for their students as well as be able to support those with mental health conditions. It is proposed that research among programme leaders, module leaders and personal academic tutors within the University of the Highlands & Islands is undertaken to contribute the academic perspective to supportive policy development within the University for this group of students.

Author Biographies

Rachel Stephanie Erskine, University of the Highlands & Islands

Programme Leader MA Health & Wellbeing and MSc Infection Prevention & Control

Department of Health

Eilidh MacPhail, UHI


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Aspects of CPD Opportunities for Staff