Utilising student-led Peer Mentoring to address identified health risks and support gaps

Ms Krystal Agourram1, Ms Lynette Round2

1Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment, Deakin University, Burwood, Australia, 2BUPA, Melbourne, Australia

In 2019 the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment at Deakin University partnered with BUPA to provide a suite of engagement activities aimed at improving the health and well-being of students. The Program, developed as a result of a mutual interest in the overall wellbeing of students, was founded upon a shared interest in the dissemination of information and service connection via a pro-active, student-led model utilising peer-to-peer learning. The Program develops student’s health literacy and helps mitigate identified risks, by encouraging changes in attitudes and behaviour through the introduction and personalisation of support services. The information is shared through formal Peer Mentor meetings and via a social engagement program. Over three quarters of students involved in the program to date, have been international, with strong feedback indicating a preference for the peer-to-peer model of learning, including self-reporting that participation in the program better equipped them for successful study (compared to if they had not participated in the program). The provision of multiple opportunities and means for students to gain health knowledge from peers they can identify with (other international students), ensures that they are able to connect and engage in the most comfortable way for them.


Biography:

Krystal Agourram is the Peer Support and Transition Coordinator in the Faculty of Science, Engineering and Built Environment at Deakin University. She has worked in the tertiary education sector in Australia for over 15 years and in various roles has been responsible for the development of non-academic engagement programs to increase student’s feelings of inclusiveness, sense of community and connectedness. Her focus is supporting students to develop strong social support networks and encourage help-seeking behaviour.

Lynette Round is the National Manager of Student Health Programs at BUPA. Over the past 10 years she has worked across both corporate and tertiary sectors to address organisational health & financial risks through the design & delivery of proactive health programs. Through the partnership with Deakin, Lynette’s focus has been on understanding the unique health risk profile of the student population and providing consultancy to develop and execute a strategy that supports partnership strategic & commercial outcomes.

ABOUT THE ASSOCIATION

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.

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