The importance of supporting students' emotional wellbeing in changing times

Students smiling in front of trees and flowers

The importance of supporting students’ emotional wellbeing in changing times

Each year, the World Health Organisation (WHO) recognises World Mental Health Day on 10 October. With people across the globe still navigating through COVID-19, acknowledging this day and how we can support positive mental health is important, with the changes to how we live and work inevitably impacting people’s wellbeing.

In a global higher education setting, to help students during the pandemic access a supportive learning environment, leading international education provider Study Group has listened to the student's voice to co-create digital, hybrid and in-person welfare solutions.

One example of this is in China. Through its 24/7 engagement with students, on WeChat groups and via numerous personal interactions, Study Group identified opportunities - using channels already known to students - to overcome study and social isolation through local study hubs, curated social interaction, new models of delivery and psychological support.

  • A Shanghai-based study hub for students progressing to the University of Sydney in partnership with the Shanghai Institute of Technology. Students study at the Remote Learning Centre while living on campus and participating in social activities organised by Study Group Student Ambassadors.
  • Offline social and network-building activities in Chengdu, Shanghai, and Guangzhou. Activities take place twice a month in different cities to enable more students to get together.
  • Dedicated online mental health support sessions with psychologists, responding to the specific welfare needs of students.

Another example of this is in Australia and New Zealand, where Study Group has enriched its online and blended wellbeing support provision for students in the following ways:

  • A dedicated Mental Health Officer for each Study Group International Study Centre in Australia and New Zealand, providing support to students and staff online and face-to-face.
  • At Taylors College Auckland, the introduction of an integrated approach to student health aligned with the mātauranga Māori (Māori knowledge) framework, which supports students’ physical, mental/emotional, spiritual, and family/social wellbeing, together with a connection to the students' home country.
  • At Taylors College Sydney, a focus on mental health and relationship student talks, with a variety of community health experts, delivered digitally and in person. This is complemented by:
    • Individual Zoom sessions with all new students.
    • Counselling and monitoring the wellbeing of students.
    • Weekly phone check-ins with all onshore students.
    • Taylors Talk – weekly themed wellbeing Newsletter to all students.
    • Harmony Day – celebrating differences and embracing new cultures.

Alex Chevrolle, Managing Director for Australia and New Zealand at Study Group comments:

“At Study Group, we appreciate that we are living in uncertain times and that students are having to quickly adapt to new ways of learning and interacting with their peers, often online from home, due to the pandemic.

“Our aim at Study Group is to not only support students to successfully progress to higher education but to have an exceptional all-round experience, where they can develop social confidence, make life-long friends and succeed in the future.

“To achieve this aim, we have engaged our students and co-created holistic and personalised learning and welfare solutions to meet their changing needs and support them to meet their full potential.”