Australian university students and mental health : viewpoints from the literature

Carter, Margaret Anne ; Pagliano, Paul ; Francis, Abraham ; Thorne, Marcia (2017)

CITATION: Carter, M. A., et al. 2017. Australian university students and mental health : viewpoints from the literature. International Journal of Innovation, Creativity and Change, 3(3):1-25.

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With more than 1.3 million students currently attending Australian universities and an estimated 20% of these experiencing a mental illness it is time this issue received more focused attention. Despite a number of initiatives being conducted there is a still lack of research that provides a comprehensive overview on the mental health of Australian university students which considers the policy landscape designed to support student learning. This research attempts to help fill that gap by providing a purposeful audit of the relevant literature. Specific material examined includes peer reviewed journal articles published within the past five years, the Australian Disability Discrimination Act 1992 (DDA), Bradley Review of Australian Higher Education (2008), and presentations from six keynote speakers at the 2017 Inaugural Australasian Mental Health and Higher Education Conference (IAMHHEC). Findings reveal that, despite student mental health being a widely recognised global concern, well developed policies still need to be developed to guide future approaches. What is known is good mental health is necessary for students to reach their full potential and universities are well positioned with expertise, structural and human assets to make a positive difference. Policies and action demand attention with a unified strategic approach across the Australian and international higher education sector essential.

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