MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ON CAMPUS: CULTURAL

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MENTAL HEALTH ISSUES ON CAMPUS: CULTURAL PERSPECTIVES
A half day workshop/seminar was held on 20 September 2006 at Adelaide
University for student services staff from Adelaide University, Flinders University,
University of South Australia and TAFE SA. The program and a summary of
issues discussed follows.
8.45 Registration
9.00 Welcome, Introduction and Outline of the Program
9.05 Mental Health Issues on Campus: A considered response for people
seeking
mental health promotion, care or protection.
Nicholas Procter, Associate Professor School of Nursing and Midwifery,
University of South Australia.
10.00 Cultural attitudes towards mental health and mental illness with a
special
focus on South East Asia.
Eugenia Tsoulis, Executive Director, Migrant Resource Centre of South
Australia and
Saras Paramsothi, Counsellor, Migrant Resource Centre of South
Australia
10.45 Morning Tea
11.15 Implications for University Services: A panel of expert practitioners will
discuss the question “What would a University be doing from an
institutional perspective if it were comprehensively embracing mental
health issues?”
- Key Issues for Support Services
- Management or treatment strategies
Panel Members:
Patricia Anderson, Manager, International Student Centre,
The University of Adelaide
Andrew Wood, Manager Health and Counselling, Flinders University
Nikki Kennedy, Disability Liaison Officer, University of South Australia
Lisa Shannahan, Manager – Disability Services, TAFE SA South
Chaired by Terry Davenport, Team Leader: Counselling Service, University of
South Australia
12.45 Lunch
SUMMARY OF ISSUES AND STRATEGIES
Issues
The key issues identified were:
 Breaking down the stigma attached to mental illness and accessing
services, particularly counselling
 Increasing knowledge and skills required for staff to respond appropriately
to incidents involving mental heath issues
 Increasing understanding of the transcultural issues and ensuring
culturally appropriate responses
 Assisting students to engage better with their study, institution and fellow
students
Strategies
The key strategies identified for breaking down the stigma were:
 The need to form partnerships, particularly with academic staff and
external service providers
 Provide accessible information about counselling services and have
counsellors get out of their offices into the student space in order to break
down stigma
The key strategies identified for increasing knowledge and skills were:
 Supporting Mental Health First Aid or equivalent training for staff; make
Mental Health First Aid or Awareness-raising a part of staff induction
 Develop clear protocols for dealing with incidents; ensure that all staff are
aware of these protocols
 Approach staff meetings and offer information and training
 Use messages on uni website/student portals/computer pools to promote
mental health ideas
 Build reminders in to the computer pools that give automatic pop up
messages after a student has been logged on for a given time – time for a
break?
 Information campaigns on ‘showing’ that mental health is everyone’s
business, not just at Mental health week
 Create incentives for staff to undertake training and to contribute to
support of students
The key strategies identified for increasing culturally appropriate responses were:
 Supporting Mental Health First Aid or equivalent training for staff; make
Mental Health First Aid or Awareness-raising a part of staff induction
The key strategies identified for better engaging students were:
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Using orientation as a focus for academic staff and student services to
assist student to engage with one another and their study
Encourage social get togethers within study groups e.g. tutorials
Organise accessible free activities which promote good health, social
contact, and support e.g. morning teas, chess games, walks,
neighbourhood watch groups; this will enable more connectedness
Profile risk populations; target key groups
Managing first experience of failure
Peer support, peer training; good model
Partnerships with academic staff
If you would be interested in a copy of Nicholas Procter’s powerpoint
presentation please contact Terry Davenport ([email protected]).
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