Research continually recommends three areas of focus…
Facts are Facts
International and ‘non-metro’ local students are at the highest risk of mental ill-health.
This is mostly due to the massive transitions they face, the stigma that ‘mental health’ carries, the lack of support networks and fear of seeking help.
Whilst more and more research is being conducted (which is great) there’s not much happening in the terms of what changes to make in the light of it.
We believe it’s not good enough to talk about the problem without also looking for, and implementing, practical solutions. That’s why we take a research-informed, student-centered, preventative approach to student wellbeing.
Out of the Too Hard Basket
We’ve made it easy and effortless for you to provide practical, preventative, useful and FUN student wellbeing activities. We do all the heavy lifting – you just bring the students!
Prevention is better than cure
We wear seat belts for prevention of harm… but wait until students are in crisis before providing support! what?
Doing the same-old same-old while students fall even deeper into a vortex of despair is not only not useful, it’s cruel at best and downright negligent at worst.
That’s why we proactively build the life and work skills students’ need now and in their future.
The biggest surprise for us is the sheer weight of numbers of struggling students…
like 95% of them…
The recommendations, however, don’t surprise us… they’re things that we believe are vital – proactive, preventative support.
and ummm, it’s the law and that…
so, yeh, turns out that providers have a real duty of care to protect the wellbeing of their students, hidden in boring government documents like these two:
Australian University Mental Health Framework (2020, Orygen) includes a bunch of principles including:
- The student experience is enhanced through mental health and wellbeing approaches that are informed by students’ needs, perspectives and the reality of their experiences.
- Mentally healthy university communities encourage participation; foster a diverse, inclusive environment; promote connectedness; and support academic and personal achievement.
- The response to mental health and wellbeing is strengthened through collaboration and coordinated actions.
International Students and their Mental Health and Physical Safety (June, 2020 by Orgyen) made seven ‘good practice’ recommendations including:
- prevention and early identification of risk or emerging issues
- enhancing connections and belonging
- building mental health and physical safety literacy and awareness
- promoting and facilitating access to supports on campus or in the community
- whole of provider commitment through policy and leadership
- 95% of university students are struggling to the extent that it’s having a negative impact on their wellbeing
- that nearly 20% have seriously considered dropping out
- that an accommodation management team that takes wellbeing seriously, positively impacts a students’ experience.
The 2019 Mental Wellbeing Survey of Prospective International and Overseas Students for Bupa made six recommendations including:
- A greater focus on early intervention as a means to reduce the prevalence and severity of mental illness
- Build mental health acumen and reduce mental health-related stigma to enhance help-seeking behaviour
- Create opportunities for international students to build social connections and support networks while studying in Australia.
National Student Wellbeing Survey Report 2016 by headspace and the National Union of Students, didn’t make any recommendations, but reported a plethora of scary stats like 72% of students reporting at least one day in the past month when they were totally unable to work or study due to symptoms of mental health problems. Yep, that nearly three quarters!
The productivity uplift from better outcomes for our university students by Ernst & Young in 2019 found that the productivity uplift from improving outcomes for university students could add $3.1 billion a year to GDP by 2030…. which could happen if more uni students knew how to manage their mental health better so they could graduate.
The wicked problem of university student mental health 2016 report by Monash University Churchill Fellowship recipient Benjamin Veness made seven key findings including that on-campus treatment services should be supplemented by preventative health strategies…couldn’t agree more Ben!
There are heaps more studies by people way smarter than us and with more PhDs than you can poke a stick at that are all pretty much saying the same thing… and yet change has been at glacial speed at best. We think that’s because making change has been put in the ‘too hard’ basket… but as human behaviour experts, we know that change can happen in a heart beat… all it takes is someone brave enough to say yes… is that you?