The University of Otago’s Student Health Services have initiated a new service in the form of a website, Healthy Campus. The website, an extension of the University of Otago website, was initiated by Director of Student Health Services, Dr. Kim Ma’ia’i, after a conversation he had with the vice-chancellor.
Ma’ia’i said they discussed how to make it easier for individuals, specifically students and staff, to easily access information about how to support themselves or someone they know. He said the site is a reference point for those wanting to learn what resources are available for their own wellbeing, as well as that of the university community.
Ma’ia’i said, “There is a huge variety of great work going on within the university community supporting wellbeing, though the level of awareness of it [is] variable.” The website aims to provide a “visible sign-post”, which will put people in touch with the resources and people they need to support and promote their wellbeing.
According to Ma’ia’i, “the way we define and express wellbeing” has changed, and there has been “a definite shift in our approach to issues of mental health”. Ma’ia’i said this shift has filtered through into younger people “who now feel more open and able to discuss issues such as depression and anxiety with less fear of stigma”. Information on maintaining our health and wellbeing is important for everyone, but particularly for students living away from home while also being under a great deal of new stress and pressures.
The homepage of the new site says “health is a state of physical, mental, spiritual and social well-being, not just the absence of sickness”. The site contains links to each of these aspects and to the necessary information and details.
The website also provides options on how to help others who might be struggling to maintain stability in their lives. A calendar on the homepage shows upcoming events, for example Grief and Loss Awareness Week and World Hepatitis Awareness Day.
Dr Ma’ia’i hopes that the website will be able to actively support the work of the soon-to-be-convened Healthy Campus Working Group, which will oversee the enactment of the university’s commitment to a healthy campus.
The website can be found at www.otago.ac.nz/healthy-campus