26 September 2018
NZISA talks student mental health and wellbeing
Around 100 student leaders attended the New Zealand International Students Association (NZISA) conference in early September.
Held at Victoria University of Wellington, the conference theme was International Student Mental Health and Wellbeing.
Mayor of Wellington, Justin Lester, welcomed delegates, followed by presentations from academics, health professionals and government agencies working with international students. A student panel discussion wrapped up the morning.
NZISA President, Lukas Kristen, said the theme was chosen in response to a growing awareness of the need for international student support services.
“While mental health and wellbeing is an issue in domestic student communities, it is amplified in international student communities due to the separation from family and friends, cultural differences and the lack of culturally trained practitioners.
“The biggest achievement of the conference was that student leaders in attendance are now better informed about where to get help. The workshops really highlighted that help is out there and how impactful it can be.”
Presentations included a plenary on student leadership by Professor Shanton Chang, University of Melbourne, as well as a session on sexuality and diversity. Patrick Au from the Auckland District Health Board delivered an engaging session about building mental health resiliency, and Dr Cathy Stephenson, a General Practitioner at Victoria University, spoke about supporting international student mental wellbeing.
This inaugural conference was, in part, made possible by funding the NZISA received in the International Student Wellbeing Strategy 2017 funding round.