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Student mental wellbeing

Prioritising the mental wellbeing of our students

The Student Mental Wellbeing Strategy provides a comprehensive and sustainable approach to furthering mental wellbeing for all of our students.

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

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.

Our strategy

The Student Mental Wellbeing Strategy (pdf, 652KB) is intricately linked with the University’s values, which promote a University-wide culture where our community can flourish and thrive.

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).

Implementation framework

The core framework in the strategy draws on a collection of well-known blueprints for mental health promotion and spans the following themes:

  • Mental wellbeing embedded in all aspects of university life
  • Inclusive and supportive campus culture and environment
  • Mental wellbeing practices promoted throughout the student experience
  • A proactive approach to student needs and integrated delivery of care
  • Individual progress planning and crisis intervention
  • Research, innovation and evidence-based practice

Advisory group

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 pvc.student-life@sydney.edu.au.

Resources