A new online toolkit will provide students with guidance and resources for coping with, and preventing, a range of wellbeing challenges throughout their university journey.
The ‘Being Well, Living Well’ toolkit, published by online course provider Epigeum (part of Oxford University Press), supports university students in positively managing their mental, physical, emotional, and financial wellbeing.
The Australian version of the program was developed in collaboration with universities, a panel of mental health experts and healthcare professionals, as well as students and staff.
Epigeum’s Director, Andy Ware, said the program supports higher education institutions in taking a consistent, preventative approach to student wellbeing.
“Being Well, Living Well is a particularly timely programme, launching when the Covid-19 pandemic has led to more pressures and uncertainty for students than ever before,” Epigeum’s Director, Andy Ware, said.
The program also uses Epigeum’s highly collaborative development group process, involving a group of universities who provide design input and peer-review feedback
“This enables our experienced team to build an online training course that is insightful, engaging and practical, and quality assured through a meticulous review process,” he said.
Enabling whole of university support
The toolkit features a wide range of interactive activities, bespoke animations, and authentic student interviews which will help students to understand they are not alone in experiencing challenges in their academic and personal lives.
Regular signposting to further support aims to address under-reporting, while inclusive practice scenarios reflect the diversity of the Australian student community and incorporate the experiences of indigenous students.
The toolkit’s flexible, modular structure will enable students to access practical guidance anytime, anywhere, selecting content according to their unique needs and schedule, in an online “safe space”.
Dr Dominique Thompson, student wellness expert and Lead Advisor for Being Well, Living Well, said that for most students it is important to be able to access information in a variety of ways.
“An online approach allows for the maximum number of students to access expert advice and support, which could be vital to their short and long term emotional wellbeing at university,” Dr Thompson said.
“The toolkit will allow universities to provide support and expert advice to their whole population, easily and consistently”.
Toolkit accessible via LMS’
Institutions can choose to provide access to the toolkit via their Learning Management System, allowing them to customise key elements of the resources with their own links and materials, or through Epigeum’s dedicated online platform.
Tania Willis, Head of Student Equity at Australian National University, represented her institution as part of the Development Group for Being Well, Living Well.
Describing the ANU’s planned roll out of the resource, Willis said the University will implement the toolkit within its LMS and said it will be “a key part of residential inductions and embedded into all first year transition programs”.
“To support a blended learning approach, we will train our peer educators and leaders to facilitate discussions around the content,” she said.
Willis said another key area for the University is supporting its student leaders with their own wellbeing.
“We are aiming to work closely with them so they can use the toolkit to assist them with the development of their own self-care and model these behaviour within their own communities”.