The Good Vibes Experiment, Flinders University’s student-driven campaign to promote mental health and wellbeing, has won a national tertiary sector award for Most Successful Wellbeing and Support Program.
The colourful and approachable project was developed by Flinders University students in collaboration with creative media professionals and mental health experts. It focuses on empowering individuals to develop the knowledge and skills necessary to improve, sustain, repair, or strengthen mental health.
With a tagline “there’s lots of ways to improve your mental health, we’ve made a stack for you to try”, the Good Vibes campaign encourages students to ‘taste test’ a range of psychologically founded methods. If students don’t like one of the 20 suggested tactics, they’re encouraged to move on and try another, emphasising that there’s not a one-size-fits-all solution to mental health.
The innovative campaign has waived copyright on the resources and is available for non-profit organisations and education sectors to utilise throughout Australia.
The annual Student Experience Network awards saw the Good Vibes Experiment highly rated by the jury for excellence in
- Adaptability to the changing needs of the student community
- Evidence of strong strategic planning
- Creative technique
- Inclusivity, diversity, and environmental considerations
- The quality of the program engagement, and
- Innovation, leadership, and recognition
“I’m super proud of the work we have done and the way we developed the campaign,” says Indianna Marrone, psychology student and champion of the campaign.
“I can’t wait to see other universities and schools take advantage of our work. I’m sure the impact we’ve seen at Flinders will be echoed wherever it goes.”
Dr Gareth Furber, eMental Health Project Officer at Flinders University and lead author of the Good Vibes activity book, says the award underlines the importance of new mental health conversations.
“It’s important to reframe how we talk about mental health, as something everyone has and can work to improve, rather than just associating it with mental illness,” says Dr Furber. “The more awareness we can spread about these simple but powerful techniques and their benefits, the better we can help people navigate the negative impacts of unavoidable life stressors.”
The awards judging panel commented that:
‘it’s clear the program offers a great bridge for students to help themselves feel a bit better and then offer something in their hands that can lead to more mindfulness and adopting greater steps towards improving their ongoing wellbeing’.
‘(It’s) really great to see the program supports long term sustainable outcomes – not just a one-off event or activity that doesn’t lead to anything lasting. The potential long-term impact for students is very valuable,’ the panel observed.
‘Social media presence isn’t all the success – it’s the playfulness of the program to reduce stigma that is innovative. Fantastic to see the broader exposure outside of the uni and that it is creating wider impact. The willingness and openness to share this program with other unis shows that you care about the cause beyond your own campus.
‘Making materials open source for other unis recognises the value that it can be replicated easily,’ the judges added.