University introduces new support for students’ mental wellbeing

2020 has been the year of adapting and shifting priorities: we’ve been challenges not to sweat the small stuff and, having lived more restricted lives, we’ve learned to find the joy in the simpler things, like having family over for dinner or heading out for a take-away coffee. The University of Melbourne have shifted their focus as well, homing in on their student’s mental health and wellness leading to the introduction of new round-the-clock mental health services for students.  

Image source: The University of Melbourne website 

This is a story of gratitude from students at the University of Melbourne for their ‘Towards a Health Promoting University’ project, conducted in partnership with the Bupa Health Foundation. 

Lockdowns and quarantines have been tough on our mental health, especially for students who are yet to begin their career and now have such uncertainty in their futures. The ‘Towards a Health Promoting University’ report investigates issues that affect students’ mental health and wellbeing to more thoroughly understand causes and patterns. In an article on the university’s website, Lead Investigator, Professor Lena Sanci from the Melbourne Medical School Department of General Practice, said ‘the main objective of the study was to capture current trends in student health and wellbeing, and to indicate potential areas for intervention to maximise health, wellbeing and academic outcomes for university students.’ 

The report looked into the current state of students’ mental health and found some interesting patterns, including the fact that ‘one in three students reported experiencing stressors at university, which were often associated with poorer mental health and, overall, poor mental health is associated with lower academic performance.’ 

University of Melbourne Deputy Vice-Chancellor and Deputy Provost Professor Kerri-Lee Krause provided a comprehensive breakdown of the support that was currently on offer to students, including ‘a health promotion program, Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS), a medical service, Chaplaincy, financial aid, student housing, careers guidance, academic skills support, and our Safer Community Program.’ 

Following the findings of the report, Krause suggests that the university will see in the ‘introduction of a new after-hours mental health crisis support service and increasing resources for CAPS to meet demand. Together, these services mean students are able to get support any time and any day.’ 

Imagine if we all look the time to put mental health first, whether that be our own or someone else’s. It’s important to remember that your mental health is just as important as your physical health, so be sure to prioritise it as such. If you’re struggling, there are plenty of places to seek help including an array of resources from Beyond Blue

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