Funding boost for Orygen's international student mental health programs

Funding boost for Orygen's international student mental health programs

31 May 2023

Orygen has received funding from the Study Melbourne Inclusion Program (SMIP) to provide mental health support to international students in Victoria.

The SMIP program provides funding for activities that promote the wellbeing of international students to enhance their experience of living and studying in Victoria.

Orygen will use the funding to expand and deliver its international student mental health peer work program, and to adapt and deliver suicide alertness workshops to international students in Victoria.

Gina Chinnery, associate director of employment and education partnerships at Orygen, said the organisation was excited to be partnering with Melbourne Polytechnic and RMIT to deliver the mental health peer work program to international students.

"International student mental health peer workers can provide valuable support to international students by helping them to feel more supported, understood, and connected," Chinnery said.

Chinnery said the funding would allow Orygen to expand its mental health peer support program for international students by providing program support and expert supervision for peer workers, as well as conducting an evaluation to assess its effectiveness.

Dr Sam McKay from Orygen's suicide prevention team also welcomed the funding.

"This investment will allow us to partner with LivingWorks to expand their safeTALK workshops to international students, supporting them to become leaders in suicide prevention in their communities," Dr McKay said.

"During the workshops, students will develop new skills, build peer networks, and be empowered to contribute to future mental health and suicide prevention initiatives.

"International students who complete SafeTALK training will have an ongoing impact in their communities by reducing suicide risk and stigma, starting safe conversations about suicide and referring risk where necessary," Dr McKay said.