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Terminations of Enrolment on the grounds of mental health

Sean Richards made this Official Information request to University of Auckland

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From: Sean Richards

Dear University of Auckland,

I request the following information under the Official Information Act.

1) How many students, in the past ten years, have had their enrolment with the University terminated by not informing the University of a change in the state of their mental health?

2) Please provide any and all internal University policies relating to the termination of enrolment on these grounds.

3) Please provide any and all internal University policies relating to the identification of students at risk of attempting suicide.

4) Please provide any and all internal University policies relating to the prevention of students attempting suicide whilst enrolled at the University, or whilst living in a University Hall of Residence.

If you require clarification on any of these requests please do not hesitate to email me.

As I am sure you are aware there is considerable public interest in this matter presently (see for example [1], [2]. [3]). I therefore respectfully ask that you treat this request as urgent under s 12(3) of the Official Information Act.

Yours faithfully,
Sean Richards

[1] https://www.nzherald.co.nz/nz/news/artic...
[2] https://www.newshub.co.nz/home/new-zeala...
[3] https://www.stuff.co.nz/national/1186958...

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From: Sean Richards

Dear University of Auckland,

Can I get confirmation of receipt, and an indication as to whether or not this is going to be treated as an urgent request?

Yours faithfully,

Sean Richards

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From: Sean Richards

Dear University of Auckland,

Further to my previous emails, may I please receive an acknowledgement of my request and an indication of whether or not the request will be treated as urgent? As I outlined in my initial request there is considerable public interest in this matter so I would like a response ASAP.

Yours faithfully,

Sean Richards

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From: Rebecca Ewert
University of Auckland


Attachment Model for supporting student health wellbeing conduct v3.pdf
198K Download View as HTML

Attachment Additional Supports Available at UHCS one pager.docx
692K Download View as HTML

Attachment Support Services and contacts.docx
13K Download View as HTML


Dear Sean,

 

I refer to your request of 10 January 2020. The University's response
follows:

 

"1) How many students, in the past ten years, have had their enrolment
with the University terminated by not informing the University of a change
in the state of their mental health?"

 

The University has terminated one enrolment in the past 10 years for
breach of enrolment conditions where the enrolment conditions included a
mental health reference.

 

"2) Please provide any and all internal University policies relating to
the termination of enrolment on these grounds."

 

The University’s rights of termination, on any grounds, are subject to the
enrolment agreement between the student and the University, the Education
(Pastoral Care of International Students) Code of Practice and other
relevant legislation. There are no University specific policies related to
termination of enrolment on these grounds.

 

"3) Please provide any and all internal University policies relating to
the identification of students at risk of attempting suicide.

4) Please provide any and all internal University policies relating to the
prevention of students attempting suicide whilst enrolled at the
University, or whilst living in a University Hall of Residence."

 

The University does not have “policies” relating to identifying students
at risk of self-harm.  The University does have a Student Wellbeing Plan
which adopts a health promotion and health education approach; firstly by
focussing on the causes of stressors and how to minimise or eliminate
those, and secondly by empowering students to improve self and community
care through increasing their knowledge and positively influencing their
attitudes and behaviours. The Plan utilises a systemic and campus-wide
approach which involves  training, messaging and practices related to
raise awareness of mental health and wellbeing, identifying students at
risk and offering support services. The objectives of our support services
are to support students to achieve academically and holistically. This
includes wellbeing messaging and information about internal and external
support offered at the University and in New Zealand. Key to all of the
support is recognising students in need and making connections to the
appropriate support services. This ranges from self-help to help lines
like 1737 to University Medical and Counselling services to private/public
mental health services, hospitalisation and the police.  We operate in an
environment where many people within the university community, including
fellow students, are encouraged to notice behaviour and then refer
students to appropriate specialist services or to raise a concern with a
staff member.  Attached is the model for supporting student wellbeing. 

 

Wellbeing Initiatives

•           The University has a Student Wellbeing Plan which is supported
by a team of mental health professionals, including Peer Health Promoters
who are trained students

•           E-screens promote mental health services as well as sexual
harm services across all campuses

•           Faculties obtain advice and support from University Health and
Counselling on individual student concerns

•           Throughout orientation the Counselling and Medical lead attend
different sessions to promote Health and Counselling services and how to
get help, and Peer Health Promoters attend orientation sessions to meet
and talk with students about managing their wellbeing

•           Puawaitanga is promoted on e-screens – this is a counselling
service that runs after hours 7 days a week that the University funds

•           Wellbeing messages are included in new student communications,
as well as communications throughout the year including videos about being
an upstander

•           Events e.g. Stress Less Weeks, University Mental Health Day,
Mental Health Awareness Week

•           Physical posters on managing wellbeing across all campuses

•           Online resources include: 

o         
[1]https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/...

o         
[2]https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/...

o         
[3]https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/on-campus/...

o         
[4]https://www.auckland.ac.nz/en/students/s...

 

 

Training

Accommodation staff are trained to notice students at risk and make
connections or refer to the appropriate support.

Accommodation Resident advisors live among the students and notice when a
resident’s behaviour is cause for concern.

University Staff are encouraged to be trained in handling distressed
students and in first response The Counselling Lead provides training for
RA’s and Student leaders as well as faculty staff on handling distressed
students Presentations to staff and students on wellbeing Bullying,
Harassment & Discrimination online awareness modules for staff and
students.  This module includes identifying students at risk and where to
seek support.

 

Risk Intervention

There is a specialist student risk intervention team that will meet to
coordinate care for students at risk; this includes the Medical and
Counselling lead and the General Manager of the University Health and
Counselling Service.

 

Yours sincerely

Rebecca Ewert

General Counsel

University of Auckland

 

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