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October 9, 2017 | by  | in VUWSA |
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Presidential Address

Last week’s Candidates Forum for the VUWSA election was yet another reminder of the huge dark cloud that continues to hang over students and other young people — the mental health crisis.

I don’t think there was one candidate that didn’t mention it in some shape or form, and this ain’t new. Every VUWSA election for the years that I’ve been around (and before that too I’m sure), has carried the same theme — what are our student leaders going to do to make a difference?

Among many other things happening this week is a project we are involved with through NZUSA (your national students’ association) to try to gather research currently lacking with regard to student mental health.

There will be a survey going out to students across Aotearoa, including you, which will help us understand on a large scale what the nature of the issues are. From there, we will have the building blocks to put together a strong campaign calling for real solutions that are going to work for our community.

We want to get a better understanding of how peer-to peer initiatives might be able to work as part of new support services. This is something that we (at VUWSA) have been working on lately — investigating whether these kinds of services could play a role at VUW, and how they would look.

As part of the Student Levy increase for 2018, we negotiated some additional funding which will go towards projects that help improve resilience and support for students. Together with Student Counselling we’ve been investigating different models of peer and online support to try and make this funding stretch as far as possible and have the greatest impact for the whole student body.

Without a doubt, many of you will know way more than me about these different models, and I’d love to hear from you so that we can get it right!

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