Presentation Title

HLTH1004 Well-Being Fundamentals for Success: Our learnings from the development and implementation of a theoretical and experiential well-being course for students.

Abstract

Mental illness among Australian tertiary students is five times that of the general population (1). In the School of Health Sciences, staff observed an apparent increase in the number of students presenting with stress related issues which were significantly impacting their studies and personal life. In an attempt to address this issue, staff were eager to take a more proactive approach and educate students about the use of practical, evidence-based strategies proven to enhance personal well-being. Consequently, an academic course was developed which combined theoretical and experiential learning workshops and comprised three assessment tasks, including the development of an individual well-being plan. Community partners were engaged to assist in the course delivery, which has run for four semesters and is proving popular with students. Additionally, we have embedded a research project within the course to evaluate its efficacy in enhancing indicators of well-being. Briefly, well-being measures were self-assessed at weeks 1, 6 and 12 of semester using four mental well-being scales, specifically; 1) Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS); 2) Perceived Stress Scale (PSS); 3) Brief Resilience Scale (BRS); and 4) Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Post-semester student focus groups (N=4) were analysed for key themes related to completing the course. Findings revealed that significant improvements in three well-being measures were observed across semester (WEMWBS, PSS and BRS). Positively, students described the course as beneficial to their overall well-being, particularly in relation to experiencing and being encouraged to adopt simple and feasible evidence-based strategies proven to enhance well-being. Overall, this course is believed to have vast potential in reducing the burden of mental illness among university students, holding significant promise in tertiary education and public health.

Keywords: Well-being; health; stress; resilience

1. Stallman H. Psychological distress in university students: A comparison with general population data. Australian Psychologist. 2010;45(4):249-57.

Theme

blended learning, engagement, community, wellbeing

Presenter Bio

Dr Ben Piggott

Ben has two main work areas - teacher education in Health & Physical Education and applied sport science. He has over 10 years’ experience teaching in schools in Queensland, Western Australia and United Kingdom. In sports science area. Ben has worked in the area of Strength and Conditioning in a range of positions that have involved the sports of AFL, Rugby and Netball. I have a strong interest in well-being and have developed and teach a course in Health Science titled Well-Being Fundamentals of Success

Dr Jenny Conlon

Jenny is a Lecturer in the discipline of Exercise & Sport Science. She received a BSc (Hons) and MSc from Northumbria University (Newcastle, England), and completed her PhD examining the efficacy of periodised resistance training in older adults at Edith Cowan University in 2016. Jenny is also an Accredited Exercise Physiologist and Scientist with ESSA, and a Certified Strength and Conditioning Coach with the NSCA.

Jenny has experience working with both elite athletes competing internationally and diverse chronic disease patients. She is a strong advocate that exercise is medicine, which serves as the foundation of her teaching and research. Further, Jenny is involved in research collaborations with various external sporting and clinical organisations including Football West, Surfing WA and Fiona Stanley Hospital.

Jenny also serves as the Director of Allied Health at the Be Inspired Foundation who award scholarships to disadvantaged youth living with chronic disease, cancer, disabilities or major trauma, providing access to Allied Health, predominantly Exercise Physiology. Additionally, Jenny volunteers at Fremantle Mind who provide evidence-based services to promote wellbeing and mental health in the community.

Presentation Type

Presentation

Location

Zoom session commences 10am AWST / 12 noon AEST

Start Date

29-9-2021 11:37 AM

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Sep 29th, 11:37 AM

HLTH1004 Well-Being Fundamentals for Success: Our learnings from the development and implementation of a theoretical and experiential well-being course for students.

Zoom session commences 10am AWST / 12 noon AEST

Mental illness among Australian tertiary students is five times that of the general population (1). In the School of Health Sciences, staff observed an apparent increase in the number of students presenting with stress related issues which were significantly impacting their studies and personal life. In an attempt to address this issue, staff were eager to take a more proactive approach and educate students about the use of practical, evidence-based strategies proven to enhance personal well-being. Consequently, an academic course was developed which combined theoretical and experiential learning workshops and comprised three assessment tasks, including the development of an individual well-being plan. Community partners were engaged to assist in the course delivery, which has run for four semesters and is proving popular with students. Additionally, we have embedded a research project within the course to evaluate its efficacy in enhancing indicators of well-being. Briefly, well-being measures were self-assessed at weeks 1, 6 and 12 of semester using four mental well-being scales, specifically; 1) Warwick-Edinburgh Mental Well-being Scale (WEMWBS); 2) Perceived Stress Scale (PSS); 3) Brief Resilience Scale (BRS); and 4) Mindful Attention Awareness Scale (MAAS). Post-semester student focus groups (N=4) were analysed for key themes related to completing the course. Findings revealed that significant improvements in three well-being measures were observed across semester (WEMWBS, PSS and BRS). Positively, students described the course as beneficial to their overall well-being, particularly in relation to experiencing and being encouraged to adopt simple and feasible evidence-based strategies proven to enhance well-being. Overall, this course is believed to have vast potential in reducing the burden of mental illness among university students, holding significant promise in tertiary education and public health.

Keywords: Well-being; health; stress; resilience

1. Stallman H. Psychological distress in university students: A comparison with general population data. Australian Psychologist. 2010;45(4):249-57.