Research Professional: ‘Fears over “lack of evidence” behind mental health tech’

Research from our paper published in Critical Social Policy, ‘Mapping mental health and the UK university sector: Networks, markets, data’, has been featured in Research Professional (‘Fears over “lack of evidence” behind mental health tech’, 18 August 2021, paywall).

We argue that emerging technological solutions for improving students’ mental health, such as apps and learning analytics, are promoted aggressively as the optimal and labour-saving approaches by the UK government and HE sector bodies such as Universities UK (UUK) and Office for Students (OfS).

MapUKHE co-investigator Felicity Callard points out that mental health interventions ‘can bring harms as well as benefits’: ‘If you don’t have adequate evidence that would be robustly examining potential harms as well as potential benefits, you don’t know whether these interventions are actually hindering more than they might be helping’. MapUKHE researcher Dimitra Kotouza explains that there should be more ‘monitoring and control of what’s happening’ when it comes to rolling out technological solutions to students’ mental health problems: ‘There is lots of research by the people who innovate [the solutions], and there isn’t enough research that would evaluate independently, prior to adoption of those interventions’.

Screencaps of the Research Professional article: Part 1 and Part 2.