Focus on psychosocial and academic support to BIs students

29 April 2021

A recent survey of Norwegian students’ health and well-being clearly shows how challenging the last year has been for students. BI takes the results very seriously and will strengthen the school’s efforts on this important area even further.

Over 62 000 Norwegian students participated in the so-called SHoT survey (Students’ Health and Well-being Study). The survey was conducted by the Norwegian Institute of Public Health, on behalf of Norway’s student welfare associations.

The results show that more students at Norwegian educational institutions experience mental health issues. 45% of the people who responded state that they have or have had serious mental illness in the last year.

- Facilitating measures to take care of students’ health and well-being, as well as delivering solid digital learning experiences, has been BI’s top priority this past year. The results of the SHoT survey are discouraging, and as a president it is truly sad to know that so many of our students are struggling, says Inge Jan Henjesand, President of BI Norwegian Business School.

Student support on new and alternative platforms

- For years, BI has offered good psychosocial support to our students. Throughout the pandemic, we have focused on providing psychosocial and academic support offers on new and alternative platforms. I am very pleased about the positive feedback we have received from students who have used our support services, says Henjesand.

Henjesand emphasises that the government’s infection control measures have made it more challenging to provide struggling students with all the support they deserve.

- We know that the students who do contact us, receive immediate support, and we do our utmost to offer support based on the student’s individual needs.  At the same time, the SHoT survey shows that we still have a job to do to make our offer known to more students and to lower the threshold for contacting us. We know that many students are reluctant to ask for help. Going forward, this will be our most important task, says Henjesand.

BI works continuously to adapt the school’s support services in line with current infection control measures. Throughout the pandemic, BI has also collaborated closely with the student organisation BISO. In addition to this, BI is also planning to further strengthen and expand its student services.

BI’s student support service offers include:

  • 1-on-1 counselling sessions with trained professionals
  • Assisting students who are not in a study group  
  • Actively seeking out students on campus to inform them about BI’s student support services
  • Coffee Hour: Social gathering, open for all students, on every Tuesday and Thursday between 11-14 (when current infection control measures allows it). Students get coffee and the opportunity to socialize with fellow students, or to talk with BI’s trained staff about social or academic issues they have
  • Walk & Talk: When it is not possible to meet up indoors, BI arranges short hikes in small groups
  • Academic guidance, both online and at campus
  • Assignment seminars

New mentor system established

Starting this autumn and throughout their first semester, all first-year bachelor students will be assigned a mentor, who will facilitate better social and academic integration. These mentors, employed by BI, will be experienced students trained in their roles. Each mentor will be responsible for a group with up to ten students.

Henjesand encourages students to look after each other, and that they should not hesitate to reach out to BI’s student support services. BI will continue to provide safe, confidential and accessible contact points for the school´s students.

- One example is our Coffee Hour events, where the attendance has been massive. This gives us a good indication about how important it is for our students that we facilitate these meeting places, whether it is to socialize with other students or for the 1-on-1 chats with our student counsellors, says Henjesand.

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