The importance of mental health literacy in widening perspectives of student success

Miss Natalie MacKintosh1, Miss Chelsea Ahern2

1Murdoch University, Inglewood, Australia, 2Murdoch University, Atwell, Australia

Students as Change Agents in Learning and Teaching (SCALT) is a new initiative at Murdoch University which empowers students to take the lead in a project of their choice.  The program invited students to submit a proposal for a project that explores innovative solutions to change.

Our project is to trial the development and implementation of a learning module to improve the student experience at Murdoch University, with specific focus on student resilience and wellbeing.

Perspectives of student success often centre on tangible outcomes of grades and employment. However, an often over-looked antecedent to student success is protective factors, which facilitate success. The protective factor we have addressed in this project is mental health literacy of students. We targeted peer mentors across all the schools at Murdoch. Peer Mentors are experienced students who are trained in helping commencing students in their transition to university study. The mental health literacy workshops are designed to communicate knowledge of mental health and wellbeing, enabling mentors to implement practical skills in their mentoring practice.   This will be achieved through reducing stigma towards mental illness, and promoting positive attitudes towards help-seeking, which will induce student connectivity with the University and their peers.

The intended project outcome is to improve the experience of Murdoch University students by enhancing a culture of understanding, inclusion and timely support for students experiencing mental health issues.

The presentation will explore the journey of leading a student led change project that trial Mental Health Literacy workshops in the Peer Mentor program.



Natalie and Chelsea are current students at Murdoch University, Perth Western Australia. Natalie is in her third year of a psychology degree, and Chelsea recently completed her honers studying mental health literacy.


The Australian and New Zealand Student Services Association Inc. (ANZSSA) is a professional association for people with an interest in the role of support services in post secondary education.

For more information, please visit ANZSSA website by


ISANA International Education Association is the representative body for professionals in Australia and New Zealand who work in international student services, advocacy, teaching and policy development in international education.

For more information, please visit the ISANA website at

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