Mental Health Strategy and Implementation Plan
The World Health Organization defines mental health as a state of wellbeing in which every individual realises their potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and fruitfully, and can contribute to their community.
Tabor’s Mental Health Strategy acknowledges that mental health is not only influenced by individual attributes and behaviours, but by wider social, economic, cultural, geographical and political contexts that can contribute to protecting or diminishing an individual’s mental health.
Good mental health is not merely the absence of mental illness, but is the capacity of individuals and groups to interact with one another and the environment, in ways that promote subjective wellbeing, optimal development and the use of cognitive, affective and relational abilities (DoHA & AIHW, 1999).
Tabor aspires to create a supportive and inclusive culture that acknowledges the positive contribution that mental health has on creating the conditions necessary for the pursuit of personal and professional success.
Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Framework
Adapted from the “Framework for Post-Secondary Student Mental Health” as developed by the Canadian Association of College and University Student Services in conjunction with the Canadian Mental Health Association (CACUSS & CMHA, 2013), Tabor’s framework rests upon 3 pillars;
- an all-inclusive institutional approach
- tailored assistance for students and staff with identified coping concerns
- individual-specific intervention for students and staff with immediate mental health concerns
- Institutional organisation, planning and policy
By embedding mental health as a key priority in decision making, Tabor will positively influence the mental health of our community by tasking the Executive Council to monitor the development and delivery of implementation activities that support the Tabor Mental Health Strategy.
- A supportive, inclusive learning environment that promotes mental health
Tabor will promote and protect the mental health of our student community by: designing and delivering activities that support mental wellbeing such as: encouraging participation and inclusiveness; promoting a supportive diverse environment; promoting a sense of connection and belonging; and supporting academic and personal achievement.
- Mental health awareness and self-management
Tabor will increase knowledge and understanding of mental health issues, especially their nature, determinants, impact, management and prevention by developing a Mental Health website to collate mental health resources and improve visibility of available initiatives and services.
- Early recognition of students and staff requiring support
To improve early recognition of mental health issues, Tabor has trained, and will continue to train, key staff in the Mental Health First Aid training course.
- Provision of mental health support services
Key Tabor staff in each Faculty/Department have been trained in the Mental Health First Aid training course and will provide the initial point of contact. From there, students and staff can be referred for free counselling at either of Tabor’s campuses, or referred to external providers. Mental health resources will also be made available on Tabor’s Mental Health website.
- Crisis Management
Tabor will ensure those in crisis (situations of acute distress and imminent risk of harm to self or others) receive the help and support they require in a timely and respectful manner by involving staff that have been trained in Mental Health First Aid, reference to external providers, and as required the calling of emergency services.
Help at Tabor
If you are concerned about your own, or someone else’s mental health, Tabor has staff trained in Mental Health first aid. These staff are;
In Adelaide, assistance is available at the Life Design Counselling Centre. Life Design is located at 164 Goodwood Rd, GOODWOOD SA 5034 and can be contacted by telephone: (08) 8373 6326 during office hours. In Perth, there is a professional counsellor available (by appointment) should any students desire help for personal issues. Appointments can be made through the front office.
Understanding Mental Health and Mental Illness
‘Mental health’ is sometimes misunderstood and interpreted as referring to mental ill-health. This may be because historically ‘mental health services’ were mainly concerned with the treatment of mental illness. However, mental health is a desirable quality in its own right and is more than the absence of illness. Mental health and mental-ill health are influenced by one another, but are not polar opposites. The absence of mental health does not necessarily mean the presence of mental illness. Similarly, if someone has a mental illness, this does not mean a complete absence of mental health. Click here for further information.
Coping with Stress
All people experience stress from time to time. However, excessive or chronic stress can take a toll on your mental and physical health. Learning skills to manage your stress more effectively can be beneficial when you are overwhelmed by stress. Excessive stress occurs when you perceive that you do not have the resources to cope with the demands in your life. Click here for a free course in coping with stress.
Introduction to Mindfulness
Mindfulness is a specialised skill in mental awareness, attention, and acceptance that is associated with numerous health benefits. Mindfulness training allows people to develop a deeper understanding of the mind, and a more accepting and compassionate relationship to their internal and external experiences. It involves guided exercises, including meditation, to help you become aware of automatic patterns of thinking, feeling and behaving, and learn to respond in more effective ways. Click here for a free course in mindfulness.
Mental Health Conditions Explained
About one in five Australians will experience difficulties with their mental health at some stage of their lives. Mental illness is a general term that refers to a group of conditions and includes schizophrenia, eating disorders, anxiety and depression, and more. These conditions can significantly affect how a person feels, thinks, behaves, and interacts with other people. Click here for information on specific conditions.
The desk aims to support Australian tertiary students to achieve mental and physical health and wellbeing. Being a student can be a challenging time and many students do not access support services for a range of reasons including time pressures, not knowing where to go for help and feeling embarrassed. Providing resources online means that more people will be able to get help to improve their wellbeing and be able to study more effectively. The desk offers free access to online modules, tools, quizzes and advice. Click here to access The Desk.
My Coping Plan
Coping refers to the effort we invest in dealing with personal and interpersonal problems. Coping strategies (i.e. the methods we use) can be roughly categorised as either adaptive (helpful) or maladative (unhelpful). Adaptive strategies tend to both solve the problem as well as lead to other related positive outcomes. Maladaptive strategies tend to only partially solve the problem in the short-term and typically have negative medium to longer-term outcomes.
“My Coping Plan” is a smartphone app, created by psychologist Dr Helen Stallman of the University of South Australia, that guides you through the process of creating a plan for yourself to follow during times of distress. It is available for free download from the Apple Store or Google Play.
Beyond Blue provides information and support to help everyone in Australia achieve their best possible mental health, whatever their age and wherever they live. You can call them on 1300 22 4636 or get resources and chat online on their website.
Lifeline is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24 hour crisis support and suicide prevention services. You can call them on 13 11 14 or get resources and chat online on their website.
SANE Australia is a national mental health charity working to support Australians affected by complex mental illness. SANE’s work includes mental health awareness, online peer support and information, stigma reduction, specialist helpline support, research and advocacy. Visit their website by clicking here.
Mental Health Australia
Mental Health Australia is the peak, national non-government organisation representing and promoting the interests of the Australian mental health sector and committed to achieving better mental health for all Australians. They have an extensive list of helpful resources that you can access by clicking here.
How can I help someone I am concerned about?
The Mental Health First Aid Australia website offers some helpful advice.