International Student Housing and Mental Wellbeing
Timothy Corney, Catherine Lou, Brett Woods, Anita Dewhurst
Australia and the state of Victoria experienced the effects of the COVID-19 global pandemic. It is important to note that government responses to the pandemic included periods of enforced isolation and other social distancing requirements. International students face challenges beyond those experienced by domestic students. Transitioning to independent living in a foreign country away from family and community networks, and dealing with language and cultural differences may contribute or
... d mental ill-health problems (Elliott, 2018) . Some international students may arrive at university with pre-existing mental health issues, these issues may be exacerbated by pressures associated with tertiary study; expectations to perform at high academic standards, coupled with finding housing, employment and financial issues. Contextual experiences such as grief and loss and family and relationship difficulties may also contribute to students experiencing anxiety, stress or depression. The Australian Human Rights Commission submission to the NSW Legislative Assembly Inquiry into International Student Accommodation (AHRC, 2011) revealed that students experience, '... direct and indirect discrimination, exploitation, and/or disadvantage due to their race, temporary migrant status, culture, religion, language'. The report suggested that discrimination occurs in relation to accessing safe affordable accommodation and occurs when accessing health services. An empirical study by Redfern (2016) found Chinese students' levels of stress and anxiety were significantly high and international students experience significantly higher levels of anxiety and stress than their Australian counterparts. As such, understanding the contributing factors to international students' health and wellbeing, particularly their experiences of mental ill-health, ways to destigmatise mental illhealth, and ways to promote positive health and wellbeing, particularly mental health, are key outcomes of this project.