Adaptation of Connecting People to address loneliness and social isolation in university students: a feasibility study

Jonny Lovell*, Martin Paul Webber

*Corresponding author for this work

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University student mental health and wellbeing is a concern, exacerbated by the COVID-19 pandemic. Loneliness and social isolation are drivers of student mental health problems, amenable to intervention. Connecting People was developed and piloted in health and social care services to support people to enhance their social connections. This paper reports results of a pre-post, single-group evaluation of training provided to 105 people supporting students in a UK university, and the feasibility of using a Connecting People adaptation to reduce student social isolation. Trainee confidence in supporting socially isolated students increased after training and remained high six months post-training. Positive feedback included students making new friends, and helping trainees to break down tackling loneliness and social isolation into manageable steps. Further evaluation is required to test effectiveness, but the model appears feasible to use at minimal cost, and may offer a suitable model to alleviate student social isolation.
Original languageEnglish
Number of pages16
JournalJournal of Higher Education Policy and Management
Publication statusPublished - 31 Jul 2023

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