Thousands of international students come to Australia every year, seeking quality education and new foreign experiences. But with a new life abroad also comes new pressures. Living alone is a huge step and so is navigating the ‘ins and outs’ of a new country. That’s not even mentioning the pressure to do well and keep up with your studies.
These strains can be exhaustive for even the most resilient student, and with so many more factors contributing to an international student’s mental health, we saw it fitting to take a positive stance on these issues by presenting a series of stories and guides during this year’s Mental Health Week.
Dubbed ‘the invisible illness’, mental health illnesses tend to be brushed aside due to its hidden nature. But just because you can’t see it, doesn’t mean it isn’t negatively affecting someone’s wellbeing.
We know that international students are at high risk for mental health issues, yet simply bringing it up amongst friends and family can sometimes make a student feel even more ostracised. “You’ll get over it”, “It’s just in your head”, “Man up and get through it”, they may say. Even within the international student community, language and cultural barriers can make it feel impossible for students to access help. Our aim is to chip away at those barriers.
In previous years we have written articles on mental health but decided that there needed to be a bigger focus. During our Mental Health Week campaign, students will see a range of articles on these issues can better assist, educate and inform students on what to do to improve their mental wellbeing. Stories also include guides for students who may have a friend or family member undergoing mental issues.
If you have a story or experience that you’d like to share with Meld (but wish to remain anonymous) please get in touch by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org with the subject header ‘Mental Health Week’. A Meld representative will be in touch if we want to feature your story!
Meld wishes to build a culture where mental health issues can be freely discussed and encourage all international students to seek assistance and advice, professional or personal, if they are experiencing difficulties that may be affecting their mental health.
Students who are affected by mental health issues or those who know someone who is can seek help through hotlines such as Lifeline at 13 11 14, beyondblue at 1300 22 4636, and Headspace at 1800 650 980.
For LGBTQ individuals who have specific needs, contact QLife at 1800 184 527.
Students may also seek help from in-house university counsellors or helplines.