Green Apple Issue 4 - Page 25

Staff, particularly lecturers and academic co-ordinators, learnt about mental health, and being able to identify students at risk through observations and verbal cues. We instigated referral processes and staff promoted counselling services to students, while remembering their own self-care.

I continued to provide confidential one-on-one sessions via Zoom, but also started less formal, weekly online peer-support sessions. These allowed students to meet in a safe, supportive anonymous space to discuss topics of interest, develop new friendships and have a laugh! The primary goal of the sessions was to provide a sense of connectedness; imperative in the Covid-19 environment.

I also created a mental health resource library of fact sheets on mental health topics. These are available via the student portal and promoted on social media platforms under ‘Dr Jane’s Weekly Tips’. Short interview-based videos are also available, ensuring information is disseminated in different formats, to reach more students.

Lecturers reported improvements in student motivation, attendance, mood and willingness to engage because of these initiatives. Via positive feedback – such as “thank you so much for everything”, “can’t thank you enough for your help and always being there for me” and “couldn’t have done this without you” – it became clear students were feeling well supported.

Happily, I have seen fewer signs and behaviours that could lead to serious mental health issues if unaddressed. Clearly, we are on the right path to supporting Gigi, and her fellow students.

Lecturers and academic co-ordinators learnt about mental health, and being able to identify students at risk

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Dr Jane Rouse