Promoting mental health on campus

Student Nicole Martin (left) with ‘AJ’ Willoughby and “anti-stress” labradors from Labs ‘n Life, Sher and Tanna.

‘Prevention is  better than cure, but help is always at hand’ was the big message of the Mental Health event today at Flinders.

The University’s Health, Counselling and Disability Services organised the annual event, which featured stalls run by a number of mental health related agencies on the campus central plaza.

Mr Andrew Wood, who heads the campus services, said that this year’s theme of Connecting with Life promoted not only the importance of mental wellbeing and how that can be fostered, but also the value for students in engaging in a range of activities such as volunteering.

The day also aims to increase overall awareness of mental health issues, Mr Wood said.

“Engaging in positive activities with a social component is a useful way of off-setting the feelings of stress and isolation that study can sometimes bring,” he said.

“The University Health, Counselling and Disability Services are seeing increasing numbers of students experiencing mental health problems – the day on the plaza highlights this, but also promotes ways in which students can build their resilience and wellbeing.”

The mix of agencies and volunteer groups, which included Centacare Drug and Alcohol Service’s Navigate, Mind, Headspace, Marion Youth Services, Mental Illness Fellowship SA , Australian Refugee Association, St Johns and the Labs ‘n Life assistance dogs,  provided information to students.

Mr Wood said the day is part of the University’s commitment to student mental health.

“There is now a formal Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Statement in University policy, and a Student Mental Health Action Plan is also being developed, of which Mental Health Day is a feature,” he said.

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