The Mental Health Awareness team at UniLodge launched MindSpace on the 30th of August, a service designed to create a platform for raising awareness about mental health as well as to provide support for residents seeking assistance with mental health issues.

MindSpace is located on the 5th floor bridge between Warrumbul and Kinloch lodges, and regularly has UniLodge staff – including senior residents and residential advisors – present to render assistance to concerned residents.

Rebecca Sullivan, Residential Life Manager, told Woroni that the space had “a really positive atmosphere and a very welcoming environment.”

“MindSpace was created to provide a safe space for residents to seek information on mental health, as well as platform for us to launch Mental Health Initiatives. This is part of a broader goal to promote mental health awareness in the community, and works alongside other projects such as our work with Batyr and the creation of an online database of support resources,” she said.

Sullivan said she saw MindSpace becoming a “permanent fixture” at UniLodge to increase awareness about dealing with mental health issues – particularly during exam period – and she hoped to use the space to promote national campaigns such as the recent “R U OK” Day, although she noted many other directions could be taken.

Also, she expressed that she did not want MindSpace to be “spamming people with information”, but “creating a space where residents could feel comfortable seeking information.”

“I also see MindSpace developing into a place for people to go that are concerned about their friends to get information on resources and things they can recommend to their friend who might not be ready to reach out yet. But most importantly I see MindSpace playing a huge role in facilitating the conversation about Mental Health and publicly showing that asking for help is OK and encouraged, and that support is readily available.”

In regards to inter-hall collaboration, Sullivan stated that the residences share extensive information and train their mental health teams together. Furthermore, when new resources and programs are launched they share information through college authorities and ANU Counselling. MindSpace also held connections with organisations like Beyond Blue to assist with resources, and maintains working relationships with ANU Counselling and ACT’s Crisis Assessment and Treatment Team (CATT).

Overall, Sullivan was pleased with the development of MindSpace, stating that “full credit goes to the Mental Health Functional Team. They have been so dedicated and passionate about this project, and the great results so far is a testament to their hard work” in creating the space and discarding stigmas around mental illness.

“Most importantly I see MindSpace playing a huge role in facilitating the conversation about Mental Health and publicly showing that asking for help is OK and encouraged, and that support is readily available.”