Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy

Western Sydney University is a culturally and socially diverse health-promoting university. We promote health and wellbeing by providing a safe, supportive, and healthy environment to enable all university community members to flourish.

"Health promoting universities and colleges infuse health into everyday operations, business practices and academic mandates. By doing so, health promoting universities and colleges enhance the success of our institutions; create campus cultures of compassion, wellbeing, equity and social justice; improve the health of the people who live, learn, work, play and love on our campuses; and strengthen the ecological, social and economic sustainability of our communities and wider society."
Okanagan Charter: An International Charter for Health Promoting Universities and Colleges (2015)

As a health promoting university, this strategy promotes university-wide education, growth and change to generate living and working conditions that are safe, stimulating, satisfying and enjoyable. The Ottawa Charter (WHO, 1986) was influential in shifting health promotion away from problem-oriented individual interventions to a holistic approach. Western Sydney University is grounded in a normalising philosophy of health and wellbeing and uses a dynamic and strengths-based support model that recognises and responds to distress and supports those with illnesses.

The 2022–2026 Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy (WMHS) identifies systemic opportunities where staff and students can co-create strategies and plans to:

  • recognise the innate resilience of community members,
  • promote safety,
  • promote wellbeing,
  • prevent illness,
  • support those with illnesses, and
  • respond appropriately when people are distressed.

Our Strategy aims to maintain a mentally healthy university for our people, to enable successful learning and working.

Wellbeing and Mental Health Strategy (WMHS) 2022-2026:

  • Adopts a whole-system approach to support individual and community capability to achieve the university's goals. The strategy aims to embed wellbeing and health in our organisational culture, policy and planning.
  • Utilises a Person-centred model of engagement and support. Our strategy recognises staff and students as our people. Person-centred care refers to services that meet the needs of the individual accessing help. Person-centred care is recognised in language, goals, and actions. Person-centred care provides support, rather than manage people.
  • Values strengths-based practice. A strengths-based approach recognises the resilience of individuals and communities. It acknowledges that individuals and our community have experienced diverse life experiences. Resilience is the ability to bounce back after adversity, to participate in our university community and to support each other.
  • Emotional health and wellbeing are referenced interchangeably with mental health and wellbeing in recognition that not all cultures refer to wellbeing as a spectrum of mental health and mental illness, rather it may be recognised as emotional health and emotional wellbeing.
  • Promotes wellbeing, health and safety through evidence-based health promotion, support, and community partnerships with a strong emphasis on co-creation and collaboration to ensure a coordinated approach to supporting staff and students’ needs.
  • Utilises evidence and data through various tools of research and evaluation to inform practice and create continuous improvement. Evaluation focuses on the degree to which the person’s needs were met, not how well the provider did.

Components of the Strategy

Research and evaluation are a continual process to ensure action plans are evidence-based, relevant and systemic through co–design and collaboration, enabling a coordinated approach to strengthening our community's health, wellbeing and safety.