Ms Gina Chinnery1, Ms Hasanah Hussein1, Miss Catherine Gayed1
1Orygen, Melbourne, Australia, 2Study Melbourne, Melbourne, Australia
International students have unique wellbeing needs and often seek support from their peers first, rather than accessing traditional support services such as University counselling or mental health services. In mental health settings, peer workers are employees with lived experience of mental ill health who support other mental health service users using their own lived experience.
With support from Study Melbourne, Orygen are developing international student peer work training to develop a new workforce, international student peer workers, to support international students in education settings to help reduce barriers to help-seeking and break down stigma relating to mental illness.
International student peer work training will provide international students with the skills required to pursue lived experience and peer work employment opportunities; improve the mental health literacy of international students attending the training; and develop supporting material for education providers interested in introducing peer workers into their student support teams.
Orygen worked closely with international students and education providers to develop the training and to understand workforce need. Importantly, the program will explore how peer work may provide an opportunity to enhance education provider wellbeing and student support services.
Catherine Gayed is the Education Sector Project Manager at Orygen and oversees the International Student Peer work Training Program and International Student Mental Health Advice line.
Catherine has worked in employment services sector for over 10 years and implemented the Individual Placement Support program for young people at headspace Youth Early Psychosis Program across the South East Melbourne and Alfred psychiatry adult services.
Hasanah Hussien works as an International Student Peer Worker with Orygen. She is currently involved in International Student Mental Health Advice Line, as well as the International Student Peer Work Support project. Hasanah has almost 10 years of experience as an international student, with various educational providers, and have dealt with services and frameworks within both public and private settings.