Ensuring that students who may be experiencing mental health difficulties have access to appropriate services and academic adjustments requires not only that those services are in place but also that barriers to access (awareness and perception) are addressed.
Mental health difficulties and mental illness are surrounded by misunderstanding and stigma. This impacts the treatment of and responses to individuals who experience such difficulties; it also affects individuals’ acknowledgement of mental health difficulties when they arise and decisions to seek help or access support.
Core activities (to undertake in the first year):
- Ensuring diverse, visible and discreet student services to support wellbeing and learning (eg counselling, academic skills, careers)
- Collecting data for evidence-based evaluation of the accessibility and quality of services
- Active student involvement in the development, review and evaluation of services
Additional activities may include:
- Auditing and developing appropriate print and online guides to accessing relevant school, university and community-based services – health and non-health – that may assist students experiencing psychological distress (such as counselling, medical services, financial aid, childcare, chaplaincy, international student services, disability support, indigenous programs, LGBTIQ networks, academic skills, careers advice)
- Developing or reviewing strategies to ensure that students take up the available services
- Developing or reviewing guides for university staff on referring a student who may be experiencing mental health difficulties to relevant services
Possible indicators of progress:
- Number of, and participation in, diverse services to support wellbeing and personal development (eg counselling, academic skills, careers)
- Proportion of off-campus, part-time or distance students accessing services
- Feedback from students on the quality of services
- Average waiting times for services
- Ratio of the number of counsellors to the student population
- Proportion of students applying for special consideration related to mental wellbeing.