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Education Enhancement Funds

Implementing a Mental Wellbeing Toolbox: Reflections on integration into the veterinary curriculum and identification of opportunities for wider application

A Teaching Innovation Grant was awarded to Dr Louisa Slingsby, Dr Rose Grogono-Thomas, Dr Julie Townsend, Ms Lucy SW Bates for the academic year 2017/18 – you can find a summary of the project they undertook with their grant below. If you would like to read the full report, please contact bilt-info@bristol.ac.uk

Project summary

Mental wellbeing encompasses the ability to feel good and function well within one’s life. This is a priority area to address within the university and beyond; wellbeing is a high importance topic within the veterinary profession.

Building on previous work we have devised a novel, evidence based “Mental Wellbeing Toolbox” (MWT) which we have introduced as a wellbeing vertical theme within the undergraduate veterinary programme (BVSc). The aim is to assist students in building their mental wellbeing, personal resources, skills and confidence, and in doing so prepare them for graduation and the workplace. It also aims to highlight how anyone can benefit from improving their mental wellbeing, resulting in better job (and life) satisfaction.

Each year group of the BVSc now has a three-hour seminar introducing one aspect of the Toolbox. A MWT Handbook has been developed for students to access at any time; if desired, it is possible to look ahead to aspects of the Toolbox taught in later years.

Following ethical approval, quantitative and qualitative data has been collected from students to evaluate the introduction of the MWT into the curriculum. Generally, feedback has been positive, with some key areas highlighted for improvement.

Conclusions

  • The MWT offers a more forward-thinking approach to teaching mental wellbeing, by encouraging all students to engage in their mental wellbeing, rather than focusing on those that are unwell.  
  • The integration of the MWT has been well-received. 
  • An aim of the project was to build a curriculum that will assist students in building their mental wellbeing, personal resources, skills and confidence, and in so doing prepare them for graduation and the workplace. On average, 80% of students learnt something new as a result of the seminars and 60% will look up something new and/or do something differently as a result of a seminar, hopefully indicating the curriculum has helped students build resources and skills.  
  • Teaching methods which are deemed positive when delivering a mental wellbeing curriculum include providing interaction with the material (while allowing anonymity), and content which is relatable, personal, interesting and/or scientific.  Anecdotes are also well-received.  

 

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