Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy
Monash University is committed to advancing the mental health and wellbeing of our students and staff in support of a healthy University community that strives to achieve excellence and foster inclusion.
The Monash approach is ‘whole of university’, recognising the role of multiple factors and influences in achieving good mental health. This involves providing an array of avenues through which students and staff can be educated on signs and symptoms of mental illness and in developing strategies to enhance their individual and collective wellbeing.
Developing resilience is central to the experience of students and in building their lifelong capabilities for success. For staff, creating supportive environments is key to enabling their satisfaction and indeed performance. Taken together the University community is able to thrive and flourish.
The many initiatives delivered by the University are underpinned by clear policies that are in support of a healthy community. Wherever possible, Monash seeks to learn from others, to deliver the best possible experience for students and staff.
Building on decades of practice, our Mental Health and Wellbeing Strategy outlines our goals over the coming years.
The specialist support of the Counselling and Mental Health Programs area occupies a critical position within the overall strategy
The success of these efforts will be measured in a number of ways, including the quality of our student experience, student retention measures and staff engagement surveys.
The Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy is underpinned by data, evidence, and evaluation. Multiple stakeholders across the University play a part.
We have well-established processes to respond to students and staff experiencing acute mental distress. Core to this area of work is the collaborative partnership between the University Counselling and Mental Health programs unit, with University Health Services, University Security, Monash Residential Services, and the Safer Community Unit in responding to crises as they arise.
- Engaging mental health nurses and providing support for students living on-campus
- Mental Health nurses are available at examination venues.
We have strong links with local community mental health services and specialist services for students and staff requiring more complex support. The Counselling and Mental Health program unit has also introduced a number of specialist support services, such as Medicare- funded psychiatrists and psychologists, and SECASA sexual assault trauma specialist counselling. Mental health first aid nurses provide support with the development of safety and support plans for students experiencing crises whilst living on-campus.
- Expanding triage nurse model to Caulfield campus.
Students are able to access free face-to-face counselling services from qualified psychologists and psychiatrists at all campuses, with online counselling also available at Australian campuses. Some faculties offer face-to-face counselling for students and staff.
Staff can receive free counselling (up to three sessions), 24-hour telephone counselling, and other support provided through the Employee Assistance Program (six sessions). After-hours counselling appointments are available.
Students with a disability, medical, or mental health condition receive assistance from Disability Support Services to help them participate productively and independently in their studies.
- Strengthening evaluation systems within counselling services
- Strengthening the cultural and linguistic capability of counselling services
- Investigating the provision of faculty-based counselling support
- Reviewing Employee Assistance Provider
The Counselling and Mental Health Programs unit delivers a suite of mental health programs to educate students and staff about common mental health issues and about how to support others going through a difficult time. These programs range from online training such as Stress Management modules, to workshops such as Mental Health First Aid and Safe Talk (suicide prevention), and to campaigns such as RUOK? Day. These initiatives are delivered with the intention of fostering a culture of help-seeking.
- Continuing the expansion of mental health literacy training
- Ongoing enhancement of workshops and campaigns.
The Mental Health Policy (under review in 2019) informs the overarching strategy for the delivery of mental health services for staff and students. It expresses the commitment of Monash University to “facilitate and promote positive mental health and wellbeing by providing a safe, healthy and supportive environment.”
In designing other relevant policies, procedures, and practices (including course design and staff workload) related to the student and staff experience, the University seeks to ensure they all work in tandem to promote a culture of positive mental health outcomes.
- Refreshing the University-wide mental health strategy (completed)
- Upgrading and enhancing the Mental Health policy (in place for five years)
- Facilitating partnerships through the university-wide Student Mental Health forum
- Strengthening partnership arrangements for staff wellbeing programs
- Scoping a longitudinal health promotion project exploring the impact of the Monash experience
- Reviewing examination, assessment and special consideration policies to align with Mental Health policy documents
- Reviewing the communications approach for mental health services and wellbeing initiatives
Key Performance Indicators
We wish to positively contribute the following measures of success:
- Overall student experience via the annual Student Experience Survey
- Overall retention and attrition rates
Our work will be measured by:
- Results of the University Counselling Services survey
- Year-on-year usage data of the University Counselling Service
- Impact of various Campus Community initiatives
- Education-focussed research measuring student wellbeing and study engagement.
Our work will be measured by overall staff satisfaction, as measured by the VOICES Staff Engagement Survey.
The Standing Committee on Mental Health meets twice a year and oversees the implementation of the University’s Mental Health policy and Mental Health and Wellbeing strategy. The Committee is chaired by the Pro-Vice-Chancellor (Major Campuses and Student Engagement) and its membership reflects central divisions, faculties and students.
The Standing Committee reports to the Vice-Chancellor’s Executive Committee, to which it provides an annual report on mental health outcomes.