New project to trial peer support for overseas students

New project to trial peer support for overseas students

14 July 2021

A pilot project to support the wellbeing of international students is launching later this year thanks to funding from Study Melbourne.

The Victorian Government initiative is providing funding for mental health peer workers to support international students living in Melbourne.

Orygen is leading the project and partnering with two higher education providers who will each employ an international student with lived experience of mental ill-health as a peer worker over a 10-month period.

Students aged 18 to 25 will be able to access one-to-one peer support and/or group peer support based on need.

Orygen’s associate director, employment and education partnerships, Gina Chinnery, said the goal was to reach up to 100 international students experiencing mental health challenges.

“Mental health is a difficult topic for many international students to discuss, often resulting in a delay in seeking help,” Ms Chinnery said.  

“We know many international students seek support from their peers over traditional mental health support services. 

“This project will introduce international student mental health peer workers into education settings who understand the unique experience of moving to Australia to study, enhancing education provider support for international students.”

Orygen will provide mental health peer work implementation support, workforce training and ongoing peer work supervision for the duration of the project.

It builds on Orygen’s work with education providers to support their wellbeing teams with mental health advice and peer work supervision and support for international students during COVID-19.