Victorian counselling and wellbeing staff working with international students will now have access to practical support via a telephone advice line launched today.
The phone line has been established by Orygen with funding from the Victorian Government, and forms part of the government’s COVID-19 response. It was launched today at the Study Melbourne International Student Mental Health webinar.
Gina Chinnery, Orygen’s associate director of employment and education partnerships, said the advice line would provide practical mental health consultation and advice to counselling and wellbeing staff supporting international students studying in Australia at secondary and tertiary levels of education and across schools, universities, TAFES, registered training organisations, and private training providers.
“Orygen’s advice line will provide callers with an opportunity to debrief and discuss any issues of concern and seek professional advice on how to refer international students to mental health services,” she said.
“The clinical advice will be provided by senior clinicians from Orygen who have a wealth of experience in delivering evidence-based mental health interventions for young people.
“The purpose of the advice line is to provide practical support to practitioners, it is not a referral or crisis support service.”
International students were among the first in Australia to be personally, educationally and economically impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic, Ms Chinnery said.
“Many international students were employed in hard-hit industries, such as hospitality and retail. These students have lost paid employment and many struggle to meet their basic needs, including accommodation and food, all while dealing with the stress of separation from family, friends and other support networks in their home country,” she said.
“There are currently 150,000 international students in Victoria. These students make an incredible contribution to our community. They enrich our cultural fabric, and bring new perspectives from around the world into our classrooms and workplaces.
“Orygen’s advice line is another demonstration of our commitment to working with the Australian and state governments, education providers and international student organisations to ensure international students are provided with the supports and services they need through the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The telephone number for the advice line is 0409 016 403. The advice line is available to counselling and wellbeing staff supporting international students studying in Victoria from Monday to Friday, 9am-4.30pm until 30 June, 2021.