Insurance giant BUPA have recently released their The 2019 Mental Wellbeing Survey of Prospective International and Overseas Students. It’s a world first study involving 12,204 participants from 175 countries that found international students may be at a higher risk of developing a mental illness.  The report also makes six key recommendations to reduce international students’ risk of developing a mental illness while they are studying in Australia.

In case you don’t have time to read the whole report (cos it’s 93 pages long!)… here’s the low down:

Build mental health awareness and reduce stigma to enhance help-seeking behaviour among international students
At Confidence Hackers we do this in a sneaky way by engaging and empowering students first with simple, fun and powerful tools and strategies to manage their stress and anxiety better and then talk about the normality of asking for help – once we have their trust

A greater focus on early intervention as a means to reduce the prevalence and severity of mental illness
This is everything we are about. We’ve known for ages that prevention is better than cure – we read this and kinda go… well derrr! We help young people make better decisions for themselves… something they can only do if they know better ways of being)

Create more opportunities for international students to build social connections and support networks while studying in Australia
That’s why we always suggest the first of our workshops (either in house or via Facebook Live drip feed to cater for the shy ones) is ‘Networking for Success’ which is all about making friends fast to beat loneliness and create connection, cos even as adults, who really knows how to make friends?

Support students to sleep well, exercise often and have a healthy diet
We talk about the importance of this all the time – especially around exam time. It’s something that we want to educate accommodation providers on too, so that they are providing less calorie-dense nutritionally-void foods and making ‘real food’ the norm

Mental health first aid certification for university teaching staff
Yep – we think this should be for all accommodation staff and student leaders too, to help identify students in crisis.  That’s in addition to the preventative stuff we do, to stop so many young people making poor permanent decisions to temporary problems

Undertake further research to address the limited published data concerning international students within the scientific literature
funny how we all know the problems, but unless there’s a million papers, nothing happens – and often even with the research, still nothing happens!

Anyways, just wanted to make sure you were up on the latest research that shows (again) why spending money on mental wellbeing is so important, so that the 27 Coroner-identified suicides of international students (and up to a possible 43) in Victoria alone, in just 6 years isn’t wasted. I’m sure they would also like to see more positive proactive action taken by all parties.

Sobering reading at the end of semester… When you go home tonight, please hug a loved one just a little bit longer – they might really need it too.