Supporting student health and wellbeing
Our commitment to the mental, physical and emotional health of our community underpins the student experience at Deakin. The Student Health Promotion Plan 2020–23 has been created to enable students to thrive. The plan builds on existing capabilities and Deakin’s strengths in health promotion research to improve outcomes for our communities. By collaborating with students, we foster a supportive environment and culture that prioritises health for everyone who studies or works at Deakin.
Health promotion priority areas
Students succeed best in their studies when they feel supported, happy and healthy. Informed by national and state health and social research, we have consulted with students to define a vision guided by six health promotion priority areas.
Improve mental wellbeing
Promoting mental health and wellbeing at university helps students to flourish, build resilience and develop strategies to address mental health and manage life’s challenges. We work to facilitate inclusive social connection and promote mental health awareness across Deakin.
Improve sexual health and wellbeing
Sexual health is fundamental to the overall health and wellbeing of individuals, couples and families. We provide access to sexual health care and prioritise informed safe sex practices, respectful relationships and freedom from coercion, discrimination, violence and stigma.
Increase healthy eating
Good nutrition is important for a healthy lifestyle and maintaining both physical and mental health. We educate students to make healthier choices and ensure availability and access to quality, affordable, nutritious and culturally appropriate food.
Increase physical activity
Regular physical activity has major health and wellbeing benefits and reduces the risk of health conditions. We promote regular physical activity and encourage students to move more by increasing access to leisure, sport and recreation opportunities.
Reduce harm from alcohol and other drugs
A harm-minimisation approach has been adopted to reduce stigma and mitigate the negative impacts of alcohol and illicit drugs. We educate students and create safe and supportive physical and social environments that positively influence attitudes to alcohol use, de-normalise smoking and reduce harm.
Improve personal safety
Feeling safe, stable and secure is central to health and wellbeing. We ensure spaces in and around campus are safe and inclusive. We promote targeted prevention programs and ensure students are aware of services available to them, so they can feel safe and comfortable on campus.
The following principles were established in collaboration with stakeholders from across the University and are central in guiding the development and implementation of this plan.
- Take a comprehensive, interconnected approach that focuses on creating long-term conditions for health across the Deakin community.
- Collaborate and partner across Deakin and with local and regional partners to deliver cross-sector efforts.
- Engage the voices of students and others across the University to acknowledge one another’s unique perspectives and areas of expertise.
- Build on strengths to extend capabilities and actively seek new opportunities for the continual enhancement of health and wellbeing.
- Be inclusive and respectful of diversity in knowledge, culture and practices, and have an informed and engaged understanding of perspectives and experiences.
- Encourage sustainability and responsibility of social, environmental and economic dimensions of sustainability in health promotion.
- Promote research, innovation and evidence to guide the formulation of policies and practices that enhance health.
'Deakin’s Student Health Plan will work in unison with our Student Mental Health and Wellbeing Plan to underpin each student’s experience at Deakin. Through this plan we will enhance the physical and mental health and wellbeing of our students, creating a healthy, safe, respectful environment to support student success.
Professor Iain Martin
Framework and implementation
The plan brings together specialist expertise across a range of areas within Deakin, as well as partnerships with external stakeholders. The following framework is used to address Deakin’s priorities over the next three years.
- Embed health in all University policies: review, create and coordinate policies and practices with attention to health and wellbeing.
- Create supportive environments: identify opportunities to support health and wellbeing across all environments of the University.
- Generate thriving communities and a culture of wellbeing: create an empowered, connected and resilient student community that fosters an ethic of care and community action.
- Support personal development: create opportunities to build student and staff resilience, competence and life-enhancing skills.
- Deliver accessible programs and services: develop programs and services to support equitable access, enhance health and wellbeing and promote a supportive culture.