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: 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]).