Write Smarter: Feel Better

 In 2018 Abstracts

Write Smarter: Feel better

Melanie Carew, Institution Cooperative Research Centre for Mental Health


There is a growing body of evidence that postgraduate research students experience higher rates of depression and anxiety compared to the general population (Levecque et al 2017). While most colleges provide counseling or support services, many students delay seeking help until they are experiencing serious mental health problems (Woolston 2018). Write Smarter: Feel Better seeks to address this. Write Smarter: Feel Better started in 2016 as a student-led support group for biomedical research students in the Cooperative Research Centre for Mental Health. From being a student-led aspect of our professional development training, it has now evolved to become a proactive peer-based mental wellbeing program designed for, and developed in conjunction with, postgraduate research students. Write Smarter: Feel Better has now been adopted by multiple Australian universities and implemented in diverse disciplines. The program combines writing and productivity blocks with facilitated discussions with aim to build social support networks, providing opportunities for students to discuss problems and seek solutions. The presentation will summarize learnings from the development and roll-out of Write Smarter: Feel Better to date, including:

Co-development of the program with students

Scale up and adoption of Write Smarter: Feel Better by Australian universities

Organizational supports to be considered when implementing peer led support groups

Impact on career outcomes for postgraduate students involved in the pilot and development

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