UCL Psychology and Language Sciences



Journeys is one of the research studies within the Supporting Students at Risk (SStaR) project funded by the British Psychological Society Division of Clinical Psychology. It looks in depth at students' experiences over time.

What's the problem?

Self-harm in young people has been rising at a worrying rate in recent years: doubling in male and almost quadrupling in female 16-24 olds over the last 20 years. Self-harm in young people should never be ignored; however, research suggests that a large proportion of people self-harming do not receive the clinical help they need. 

What are we trying to find out?

Journeys maps student journeys from their perspective - rather than making assumptions about their experiences. We want to find out more about current support journeys experienced by students including:

  • What may help or hinder accessing support
  • How support journeys into and through care can be improved
  • How students spend their time online, and how this may affect mental health and help seeking

Journeys is a qualitative study, meaning that it invites rich, detailed perspectives from each of its participants. It is also longitudinal, holding interviews at two points in the academic year to track the 'highs and lows' of student life.

What next?

Data collection for the study has now finished and the team are working on the analysis. We will be sharing the study's findings on our website in due course.

Who is involved?

Trainee Clinical Psychologists (DClin Psy students) Alice Tickell and Kati Hajdu are conducting the research, supervised by Laura Gibbon.

What is this type of research?

This is a qualitative interview study.

These studies are for building a more detailed understanding of how people think and feel about a certain research topic, such as a new mental health support provision. While questionnaires give a broad, quantitative sense of trends across a population, qualitative interviews allow researchers to delve deeper into the personal, subjective accounts of individuals.

How do they work?

Interviews can take place in varied settings: in person, over the phone or on video-calls. They give participants the chance to speak their mind about the topic. Interviews might be highly structured, with many fixed interview questions; or semi-structured, allowing for longer elaborations; or even unstructured, resembling a normal conversation. Interviews can also take place in groups, known as focus or consultation groups, to allow for interaction of ideas between participants. There are many methods of analysis for these interviews; the most commonly used in psychology may be thematic analysis, which maps the common themes that emerge across participants' perspectives.