I'm Gareth, the "eMental Health Project Officer" with Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS).

As the title suggests, my focus is on mental health, particularly the mental health of students at Flinders. The 'e' means I am looking at how to use the internet and technology to support your mental health.

For those that don't know the term, mental health refers to a state of being in which you feel like you have abilities and potential, can cope with the normal stresses of life, can work productively and effectively, and can make a valuable contribution to your community.

Having good mental health during your university years can help you get the most out of your education, help you build life-long friendships and help start you on a path towards a future career.

Staying mentally healthy though is challenging. A person's mental health is affected by lots of factors:

  • Mental illness - i.e specific illnesses like anxiety, depression or substance abuse disorders. 
  • Physical health - the presence of health conditions like diabetes or asthma.
  • Lifestyle - i.e. how well we eat, how often we exercise, and how much sleep we get.
  • Personal relationships - the quality of our friendships, relationships and family supports.
  • Where you live, including your standard of living - the quality of our living environment and community.
  • Sense of belonging - feeling needed and valued by the people and groups in our lives.
  • Sense of safety - feeling safe and secure.
  • Sense of achievement and purpose - having goals and the feeling that we can achieve them.
  • Exposure to traumatic events - 

Research has shown that many aspects of the university experience can be challenging in terms of your mental health: financial stress, lack of sleep, poor diet, balancing commitments, living away from family and pressure to excel. As a result many students report feeling quite anxious, depressed or stressed out.

The crew here at Health, Counselling and Disability Services (HCDS) are here to make your university experience better, by providing high quality medical, counselling and disability support services.

It's a highly skilled group, so take a moment to find your way around the Health, Counselling and Disability Services website and see if there is a service here that might be of assistance to you.

 My role

My role with HCDS is to help guide you towards additional tools, services, and resources that you might find helpful during your time at Flinders. I'll be doing this in three main ways:

  1. In July 2017, I started the Student Health and Well-being blog. The blog is packed with tips, tricks and resources to help enhance your wellbeing at uni, beat procrastination, study better for exams and much more. In 2018 we'll be expanding the blog to inlcude news items from HCDS, inlcuding things like immunisation dates, cut off dates for disability exam provisions and more. 

  2. In 2018, I'll be heading up a revamp of OASIS, including a new focus on wellbeing and a revised website. As part of that revamp, I'll be starting a new blog on mental fitness where I explore specific techniques for building resilience, study capacity and wellbeing. 

  3. Finally I am avaiable for consulation via Skype (search for eMental Health Project Officer Gareth), twitter (@Dr_Furber) and email (gareth.furber@flinders.edu.au) for questions you might have about mental health and wellbeing. Got a question about mental health, or the types of services available to you? Send me a question. I can usually respond to most emails within 1-2 days. If it is an emergency, use one of the services here. If you are after a counselling appointment, visit here

I look forward to chatting to you one day.