Your students are experiencing more wellbeing challenges than ever before. And that’s getting in the way of their learning and exacerbating their mental health. With so many students to support, and stretched budgets to work with, it’s easy to be tempted by the plethora of wellbeing apps, e-learning and digital solutions that have boomed in recent times.

But you know, or sense, that these so-called “scalable and affordable” digital options aren’t all they are cracked up to be. You’ve seen how the push to increase digital in student’s learning can lead to more isolation, disengagement and a disjointed learning experience – and you don’t want that for students’ wellbeing.

Your gut feeling is right – digital solutions are not a cure all for wellbeing. What you are really looking for is an alternative to digital that actually delivers. You want to sustainably build your students’ resilience and wellbeing, so that they are equipped for university life and can better safeguard their mental health in the face of challenges. That requires your students to develop their emotional literacy, learn robust wellbeing tools and ensure they have really practiced them.

What you are looking for is a high quality, in-person training programme that can transform your students’ wellbeing.


1) Community and belonging

One of the biggest challenges that your students are probably facing right now is loneliness. A 2023 YouGov poll found that 92% of students surveyed felt lonely and a 2021 Student Minds survey found 52% of respondents said they often felt lonely or isolated in the Autumn term. We know that transitioning to university comes with the challenge of forming new relationships and we also know from positive psychology research just how important connection to others is for wellbeing and mental health. If we are serious about looking after students’ wellbeing then we need to maximise their opportunities to meaningfully connect with peers – not push them in front of screens.

A huge part of what makes the SLI Building Resilience and Wellbeing Programme effective is its emphasis on building a community, alongside the learning. Students are put into intimate cohorts of 15-25 peers so that they feel psychologically safe and can properly get to know each other over the 8 week period. The facilitation of the programme gets students to do paired and group activities centred on the wellbeing tools.

One student said:

“Some of the one-on-one conversations also gave me things to take away, both in terms of encouragement from other participants and also the shared experience of reflecting on mindsets and how to approach life.” – Joseph Micallef

The magic of working in-person is that, as well as learning essential wellbeing tools, your students are sharing, encouraging each other and building common ground with their peers. All of this can spark friendships (if they so choose) or, at the very least, create a shared sense of belonging for the duration of the programme.

2) Vulnerability and peer support

Getting your students to learn about their wellbeing, emotional world, thought processing and challenging their weekly routines is difficult. It requires students to be a little bit vulnerable so that they can courageously grow into new ways of being. And being vulnerable requires levels of trust far beyond what can be achieved on an app or forum.

Being in-person is essential to strengthening your students’ vulnerability muscles. An experienced facilitator can set effective ground rules, manage the emotional boundaries of the space and gradually encourage deeper sharing over time as trust builds.

“Gemma enabled an open discussion about the topics and created an environment where people felt safe to share and grow, which is an incredible thing.” – Rebecca Brown

Learning to be vulnerable and open up to others is powerful for your students as it allows them to break down taboos, realise they ‘weren’t the only one’ and encourages them to cheerlead others and give supportive advice. This creates an upward spiral of more trust and self-confidence – because sharing when you feel vulnerable is an act of courage to be celebrated. It also promotes deeper learning which can lead to outcomes like this:

“I feel like I’ve faced my innermost thoughts a lot more now and I am slowly getting to a point where I can begin dealing with the more deep-rooted issues within me. I realised that mindset is key and sometimes you just need to set yourself small tasks that are needed to help you get to a better place.” – Arshad Mozumder

When your students know that they have real-life peers supporting them and growing with them every step of the way, they become empowered to tackle the big challenges in their lives.

3) Momentum and accountability

Effective wellbeing learning requires your students to keep practicing regularly and build up their skills over time. There’s something delightfully old school about booking time in your diary and knowing “Every Monday for the next 8 weeks, I’m attending my wellbeing programme”. Your students may put off their e-learning or snooze their apps, but when they have to physically show up to meet their peers each week, there’s a little bit more onus on them maintain that momentum.

And that regularity is what helps them create effective wellbeing routines in their lives:

“Every week I felt like we were approaching wellbeing from a different angle and so I was able to implement happiness into scenarios in my life where I was unable to do so before.” – Alastair Leverton

As well as learning skills and tools each week, your students need to hold themselves accountable for actually implementing their wellbeing practices in their lives. Digital accountability like reminders or trackers may be good, but in-person is so much more powerful. Think about how much more accountable you feel when you are part of a community of real people. You know that next week you’ll see the same faces who are ready to ask you how your action plan went, cheer you on and offer support if you didn’t quite make it.

The Building Resilience and Wellbeing Programme ends each week by getting your students to commit to a personal wellbeing action and discuss it with an accountability buddy, which leads to comments like this:

“What’s made this programme so impactful has been the openness from each individual and how collectively we helped each other through suggestions, prompts and, most importantly, group accountability.” – Clive Matthews

4) Responding to the needs in the room

In-person learning always beats digital learning on the components that are inherently human – and one of those is being able to respond to your students’ needs in real time. When an experienced facilitator is in the room with your students, they can gain such rich feedback from your students; their questions, engagement and performance on activities as well as the subtle things like their body language, tone and energy levels.

All of this allows learning to be tailored to individuals – and the group as a whole – in ways that no algorithm could ever hope to. This may be adapting the content because your students get it, want more detail, need more time, or want more examples to bring it to life. Or this may be responding to your students’ emotional needs by giving them more time to process, coaching, re-establishing ground rules, or working through a sensitive example.

Each of your students will have slightly different needs when it comes to managing their wellbeing effectively, so an in-person experience gives much more opportunity for your students to have their personal needs met.

“I loved how Gemma was so mindful as to give each one their autonomy to go through the programme as they felt.” – Shazia Lalljee

5) Quality content that gets used

What makes in-person wellbeing stand out here is the difference between transmissive and experiential learning. Sure, your students could just click through a research-backed online course and get a certificate at the end, but we all know there’s a huge difference between knowing and doing.

Building sustainable wellbeing can only happen when your students get high quality content and fully engage with it. We know that they are far more committed to participate in person than they are online. The nature of having a dedicated learning space, a competent trainer, and a peer group who are willing to engage all create the right conditions for experiential learning to take place. Your students have opportunities to ask questions, hear anecdotes, discuss in groups and practice activities with support on hand.

When you combine scientifically sound wellbeing tools with experiential practice you get feedback like this:

“We got taught lots of different relaxation skills such as body scans and breathing bubbles. This was helpful as we were actually taught how to use these techniques rather than just being told the ideas. I will be able to be more mindful in choosing healthy coping mechanisms for stress.” – Shannon Iceton

“I particularly liked the group sessions which helped me to understand where I can grow and how to gain resilience.  I found it extremely beneficial to be taken through the tools and given guidance on how to implement them directly into my life.” – Panisha Pindoria

Getting your students to experience tools in a safe space, reflect, and ask questions gives them the confidence to actually use them in their lives. And when your students actually apply the strategies, that’s when their wellbeing flourishes.


There is a valid place for digital wellbeing solutions in your students’ lives. They are cheap and accessible which makes them handy in a pinch. Loading a breathing exercise before an exam, or doing a stress management activity after a tricky situation can be a lifesaver. But these tools are not a cure all for the serious wellbeing challenges that your students are facing.

You are passionate about really enhancing students’ wellbeing and empowering them to be more resilient. That means you need a more human, more powerful approach. You are looking for an in-person experience with the winning combination of ingredients:

  1. Small group communities to build a sense of belonging and connection
  2. Facilitated opportunities for students to be vulnerable, courageous and support each other
  3. A regular schedule and weekly personalised action planning to create momentum and accountability
  4. An experienced facilitator who can respond to your students’ emotional and learning needs in real time
  5. A programme of experiential learning that gives your students the confidence to implement research backed wellbeing tools in their lives

It’s time to look past the glitz and glamour of digital solutions and do things properly. After all, building your students’ wellbeing is such a human experience that it deserves a human approach.

Ready to transform your students’ wellbeing? The Building Resilience and Wellbeing Programme has all of these essential ingredients to help your students live a happier life.