English Australia published the Mental Health Guide following consultation with the sector, where it has been well received. An Academic Manager from an ELICOS college stated: "Supporting our students' mental health is essential, especially in these times of upheaval. The Guide provides practical, relevant guidance for frontline staff and we thank English Australia for the initiative!". In addition to publishing the guide, English Australia held a Mental Health Forum for ELICOS colleges in NSW in December 2017 and has presented findings from its mental health survey and the Mental Health Guide at various international education events such as UECA PD Fest Sydney in May 2018, UNSW Global PD Day in August 2018, an English Australia webinar session, the Australian International Education Conference (AIEC) in October 2018 and International Education Association Conference (ISANA) in December 2018.
Challenges and recommendations
One challenge of the project was limiting the contents of the Mental Health Guide to ensure it was user friendly and not overwhelming. The guide needed to be easy to pick up and read as a reference on different topics. After presenting the guide to audiences at different events and conducting the Mental Health Forums, English Australia recognised the need for basic training for frontline staff in the area of student mental health if early intervention was to happen. To this end, English Australia ran 'Accidental Counsellor' Mental Health Training workshops in Adelaide, Brisbane, Canberra, Melbourne, Perth and Sydney in late 2018 and early 2019.
The Guide to Best Practice in International Student Mental Health can be accessed online at: https://www.englishaustralia.com.au/professional-development/best-practice-guides
For more information, please contact English Australia on (02) 9264 4700 or via email: firstname.lastname@example.org or visit their website www.englishaustralia.com.au