University Mental Health Day

The University of Newcastle joins universities across Australia and New Zealand on Tuesday May 5 2020 to hold the 7th Australia and New Zealand University Mental Health Day (UMHD).

Given the extraordinary global circumstances we now face, the mental health of our higher education staff and students has never been more important. The aim of University Mental Health Day is to bring together our diverse university community to inspire conversations, campaign, take action and create change so that together we can make mental health a university-wide priority and create ongoing, year round change.

Let’s join together via zoom for an Acknowledgement to Country from Wollotuka at 9am followed by the Vice Chancellor’s University Mental Health Day address at 9.15 am and Professor Frances Kay-Lambkin will host a mindful morning tea via zoom at 10.30am. For details about other activities on UMHD please see the In the Loop.

The University's Employee Assistance Program (EAP) provider, Newpsych will do a brief zoom presentation: Post Traumatic Growth AC (After Covid 19), 11:30am-12pm.

To Join from PC, Mac, Linux, iOS or Android: Password: UMHD

What is it?

University Mental Health Day aims to raise awareness of the mental health and well-being needs of those who study and work in higher education settings. The concept was first developed by University Mental Health Advisors' Network in the UK and is now co-ordinated by the UK student mental health charity Student Minds .

How to get involved

There is no set theme for University Mental Health Day in 2020 so feel free to be creative! Check out #unimentalhealthday on social media or have a look on the Student Minds UK Website to see what University Mental Health Day activities happened there. Digital resources including some kindly edited for our context by Student Minds UK can be downloaded.

If you would like to be involved in the University Mental Health Day in 2020, please contact Paula Convery by email or phone 02 4921 7762.

Why have a University Mental Health Day?

According to Universities Australia data snapshot, in 2017 around 1.4 million domestic and international students were educated at our 41 local Australian universities, along with 2 overseas institutes operating here.

Being at university creates unique challenges. The National Centre of Excellence in Youth Mental Health, Orygen states in the report Under the Radar (2017), around 3 in 5 of our students are aged between 15 and 24 years. At least 1 in 4 of them experience mental ill-health in any one year.

From 2006 until 2016 there was an increase of 123% in number of students with a disability; a 105% increase in Indigenous students; a 66% increase in students from low SES and a 50% increase in regional and remote students.

Around 130,000 full time equivalent staff were employed by the university sector in 2017. Workplace mental health conditions are common and can result in significant impact on individuals and organisations. Creating a mentally healthy workplace is therefore likely to result in significant benefits for organisations and our economy with university education adding $140 billion to the Australian economy in 2014.

Steering Committee and Sponsor

Thank you to our kind sponsor ANZSSA for supporting this initiative and to the members of the University Mental Health Day Steering Committee for their coordination of the event.

Paula Convery

University of Newcastle

Anne-Marie Parsons

University of Auckland

Bethany Mackay

Central Queensland University

Glenda Langford

Swinburne University

Sarah Bruen

University of Canberra

Colin Clark

University of Tasmania

Lis Hosking

University of Auckland

Emma Boyne

University of Western Australia

Rebecca Omond

Murdoch University

Roisin Trainor

University of New South Wales

Thanks also to past members including: John Alford University of Tasmania; Daniel Persaud University of Melbourne; Ben Chandler University of Adelaide.


Useful resources

Five ways to Wellbeing provides strategies to improve your mental health in your everyday life and was developed by the UK New Economics Foundation. This app can be downloaded free to your android or iphone.

  • Australian Bureau of Statistics (2008) ABS, 2007 National survey of mental health and well-being: Summary of results. ABS Cat. No. 4326.0. ABS, Canberra.
  • Beyond Blue (2014) Creating a mentally healthy workplace: Return on investment analysis. Online report at Accessed August 12 2014.
  • Said D Kypri K Bowman J (2013) Risk factors for mental disorder among university students in Australia: findings from a web based cross sectional survey. Social Psychiatry and Psychiatric Epidemiology 48:6, 935-944.

The University of Newcastle acknowledges the traditional custodians of the lands within our footprint areas: Awabakal, Darkinjung, Biripai, Worimi, Wonnarua, and Eora Nations. We also pay respect to the wisdom of our Elders past and present.