Mental Health and Mental Wellbeing of Black Students at UK Universities: A Review and Thematic Synthesis

Nkasi Stoll*, Yannick Yalipende, Nicola Byrom, Stephani Hatch, Heidi Lempp

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticlepeer-review

10 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

Background There is a knowledge gap about the experiences that affect the mental health of Black university students in the UK. Current research is focused on understanding the continuation, attainment and progression gap between Black students and non-Black students. It is essential to know more about the interactions between personal and institutional factors on the mental health of Black students to explain the inequalities in their experiences and outcomes across the university lifecycle. The current study set out to thematically synthesise articles that explore the experiences that affect the mental health and mental well-being of Black university students in the UK.

Methods This study is a qualitative thematic synthesis of a literature review. We developed search strategies for four online databases (PubMed, Social Science Premium Collection via ProQuest, Open Access Theses and Dissertations, and Open Grey) covering January 2010 to July 2020. This search was combined with a manual search of reference lists and related citations. All articles in English addressing mental health and mental well-being experiences among Black university students studying at a UK university were included. Critical Appraisal Skills Programme Checklist was used to assess bias. A thematic synthesis was conducted using Braun and Clarke (2006)’s six-step guide to develop descriptive themes and analytical constructs.

Results Twelve articles were included. Several themes were identified as affecting the mental health of Black university students in the UK: academic pressure, learning environment, Black gendered experience, isolation and alienation, culture shock, racism and support.

Discussion This review provides an appraisal of the factors affecting the mental health and mental well-being of Black students at UK universities, which need to be addressed by higher education policy-makers and key decision-makers. Further research is needed about the mental health experiences of Black university students in relation to Black identities, suicidality, mental health language, the physical environment, and racism and other institutional factors.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)e050720
JournalBMJ Open
Volume12
Issue number2
Early online date28 Feb 2022
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 28 Feb 2022

Keywords

  • MENTAL HEALTH
  • QUALITATIVE RESEARCH
  • PSYCHIATRY
  • PUBLIC HEALTH
  • SOCIAL MEDICINE
  • EPIDEMIOLOGY

Fingerprint

Dive into the research topics of 'Mental Health and Mental Wellbeing of Black Students at UK Universities: A Review and Thematic Synthesis'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this