The University acknowledges that students entering post-secondary education face multifaceted challenges.
In Australia and globally, young people between 16–24 years of age are at increased risk of mental health difficulties, with more than 75% of adult mental illnesses emerging before the age of 25 years*.
The majority of university students are in this high-risk age group and face the additional challenge of limited access to high-quality services due to high demand.
Our vision is to create an inclusive and open University community that embraces a holistic, proactive, and student-centric focus on student mental wellbeing.
Through an institution-wide approach, the University of Sydney is committed to delivering learning environments and organisational cultures that support student mental wellbeing. The strategy and its implementation are based on evidence-based approaches wherever possible and the University supports initiatives to address gaps.
Informed by these values, we envision an approach to mental wellbeing that is proactive, evidence-based, and grounded in participant co-design, recognising the intersectional nature of experiences and identities. This approach meets the needs of the diverse student cohort through a staged, triaged approach to care provision across the student population.
Over the past 10 years, there has been a range of initiatives to enhance the wellbeing of students and staff in the University community which have contributed to a collective desire to take the next steps into a more cohesive strategy in the area of mental wellbeing.
The Student Mental Wellbeing Strategy (pdf, 652KB) has been developed through a consultative process with key subject matter experts and stakeholders including students and student organisations, the Brain and Mind Centre, The Matilda Centre for Research in Mental Health and Substance Abuse, the School of Psychology, the National Centre for Cultural Competence, and Student Support Services.
It was endorsed by the University Executive and Senate People & Culture Committee in June 2020. The development and implementation of the Strategy is led by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Student Life) Professor Susanna Scarparo and overseen by the Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Education).
The core framework in the strategy draws on a collection of well-known blueprints for mental health promotion and spans the following themes:
The implementation of the strategy is guided by an Advisory Group, which was formed to consult on strategic initiatives and chaired by Professor Susanna Scarparo, Pro Vice-Chancellor (Student Life).
This group consists of University students, staff, world-leading experts in mental wellbeing, key University stakeholders, and the following chairs of the working groups:
To find out more about the program or how to get involved, contact firstname.lastname@example.org.
Several initiatives have been successfully delivered since the Student Mental Wellbeing Strategy launched in August 2020, including:
The Wellbeing Services team has been established and are responsible for the triage, intake and coordination of students of concern and managing Student Critical Incidents in line with the Student Critical Incident Procedures 2022.
The University has partnered with Batyr, a youth-led organisation focused on reducing mental health stigma and increasing help-seeking. Programs delivered for students and student-facing staff. Student programs are embedded in curriculum where possible.
We have partnered with TalkCampus, an app that provides students with free and instant mental health and wellbeing support anytime of the day, anywhere in the world in 25 languages.
Supplements delivery of one-to-one counselling by Student Counselling Service out of business hours through the provision of crisis support.
Provides a one-stop-shop for information, resources and events.
Trained students fluent in English and Mandarin to provide on-demand support and information to fellow students via Zoom and online chat.
A digital platform to help students and staff seek and access the right resources and support at the right time to improve their physical and mental health
A digital platform that connects international students to wellbeing and safety supports.