Exploration of mental health issues of students among university health science academics in Japan
McMaster, R and Adachi, K and Yada, H and Odachi, R and Omura, M and Cleary, M, Exploration of mental health issues of students among university health science academics in Japan, Issues in Mental Health Nursing pp. 1-8. ISSN 0161-2840 (2021) [Refereed Article]
Academic educators in universities are well positioned to detect early signs and symptoms of unexplained behaviour change in students that could be the beginning of mental health issues. The purpose of this research was to explore the attitudes, beliefs, knowledge and practices of university academics in Japan towards health science students with psychological/mental health issues. This study used a qualitative descriptive design. Three focus groups using a semi-structured interview guide were conducted with 15 academics teaching health science students. Data were collected between March to October 2019. Themes revealed three areas of interest: 1) Reflection on mental health issues in Japan with sub-themes "family issues"; "society expectations and changes", and "stigma"; 2) Reflection on studentsí mental health issues with sub-themes "student behaviors", "staff involvement", "barriers encountered"; and, 3) Potential supports with sub-themes "university assistance", "communication and connection", and "interventions and prevention." The findings provide insight and can benefit student populations across diverse cultural university settings. Further research to investigate academic staff support with early recognition of mental ill-health and ability to provide information and advice to students is warranted. Recommendations include mental health education for academics and for students to encourage healthy university campuses and well-being within the community.