UOW Wellbeing has announced a free Mental Health First Aid training for University of Wollongong students and staff. The training is valued at around $250-$300 when completed in the community. The in-depth program equips people with the knowledge of how to respond and what to do when someone comes is in need of help.

UOW Wellbeing coordinator, Rosalie Milne, says the program provides information about mental health conditions and how to identify them.

“It a relatively in-depth and extensive training helps you respond appropriately when put in that situation … to sit, listen and to make them feel valid.”

Spots in the first course are currently full, but Milne says there looking to do another one in the spring session.

With exam period around the corner, UOW Wellbeing has a range of programs, just like this one, for students to access to keep stress levels to a minimum.

According to headspace the numbers of Australian University and TAFE students that are stressed and anxious is worrying.

One of the largest national student surveys into the mental health of Australian students around the same time last year, revealed that 70 per cent of respondents rated their mental health poor or fair. Two-thirds reported their mental health as high or very high psychological distress.

– 2,600 TAFE and university students were surveryed by Headspace and the NUS
– About 35 per cent said they had thought about self-harm or suicide
– Increased workload, looming deadlines, relationship problems and financial hardships are some common challenges

To help reduce dreams of turning up to exams in your underwear or your alarm failing to go off, here is your go to what’s happening on campus to help students relieve stress.

During the week break before exams, UOW Wellbeing will also have a space for students to retreat to. A breakfast and snack bar will be available and physical activities keep students social and active.

“We want to create a space where people can keep up social and healthy behaviours during the stressful period,” Milne says.

Away from traditional coping methods and advice, some universities around the world have turned to alternative methods. Utah University in the United States, has a ‘cry closet for students’ a space that allows students studying for finals to take a short 10-minute break and relieve their tears. California State University, Long Beach, USA has an annual puppy pen, where students can cuddle some fluffy creatures. Cambridge University in the UK also sees the value in furry companions and has an exam de-stress dog named Twiglet, available for students to walk. Back home in Australia, the University of Canberra have a petting zoo.

If you or anyone you know needs help:
• Lifeline on 13 11 14
• Kids Helpline on 1800 551 800
• MensLine Australia on 1300 789 978
• Suicide Call Back Service on 1300 659 467
• Beyond Blue on 1300 22 46 36
• Headspace on 1800 650 890
• QLife on 1800 184 527