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The Student Parliament confirmed the mental health conditions of TalTech students

On April 11, 2023, a meeting of the Student Parliament was held, during which the mental health statements of TalTech students were confirmed:

  1. Faculty members are aware of the impact of students' mental health on their studies and take it into consideration.

    1. At the beginning of each semester, faculty members provide students with a schedule of all deadlines.

    2. Faculty members regularly participate in seminars on mental health topics.

  2. The university ensures a balance between students' academic and work-life.

    1. The university provides flexible curricula and teaching methods.

    2. The university advocates for an increase in student study support.

  3. The university supports students' integration and the formation of friendships throughout the academic year.

  4. All students receive timely assistance in seeking psychological counseling.

  5. Communication on mental health topics is improved within the university.

    1. University information channels make it easy to find where to seek help for mental health problems.

    2. Useful evidence-based materials and case studies on mental health are shared through university information channels.

  6. The university regularly organizes events on mental health topics such as seminars, training, and information days.

  7. In order to improve the quality of psychological counseling, feedback on the counseling center's activities is regularly collected.

  8. The university develops a mental health action plan and conducts additional studies among both students and staff.

The beginning of this process dates back to November 2021, when the TalTech Mental Health Working Group was created to raise awareness of the importance of mental health and draw the attention of the rectorate to the students' desire for the university to pay more attention to this issue. The working group was guided by the Mental Health Implementation Plan section of the Estonian Student Union "What Can Student Unions Do?" The task of the working group was to assess the mental health situation of students, analyze various variables that contribute to students' mental health, and gather recommendations in one document for both the university and the students themselves to help support students' mental health.

To this end, a survey was conducted in October 2022, with 694 TalTech students participating. The survey put forward three hypotheses:

  1. mental health problems are a widely prevalent issue among students;

  2. mental health problems/conditions are associated with difficulties in academic progress;

  3. information on mental health and related services at the university is not easily accessible or sufficient for students.

The first hypothesis was confirmed. Almost one-third of the respondents have been diagnosed with mental health problems, and almost two-thirds received a score higher than the threshold on the EEK-2 questionnaire indicating the risk of depression.

The second hypothesis was confirmed based on the students' own assessments. About two-thirds of the respondents felt that their mental health had interfered with their studies, for example, by obtaining a lower grade or failing a course. 86.2% of respondents felt the negative impact of the learning environment on their mental health and identified academic pressure and the difficulty of balancing work and study as the main factors contributing to their mental health problems.

The first half of the third hypothesis was confirmed: slightly more than half of the respondents (51%) either did not know or were not sure that free psychological counseling is offered at the university. A definite conclusion cannot be drawn about the second half of the hypothesis, but only 9.4% of the respondents had used the counseling service provided by the university. There were also some respondents who had contacted a psychologist but did not receive a response.


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