Living room provides welcoming new space for students on campus

28 Oct 2020 | 3 mins
Students with dogs outside the living room

Students at The University of Western Australia will be able to access a welcoming and inclusive new space that aims to promote wellbeing through early intervention, peer support and easy access to campus health services.

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma this week launched the Living Room, a project developed in partnership with the UWA Young Lives Matter (YLM) Foundation to provide students with access to mental health support and connection to appropriate services and activities on campus or in the community. 

Image: UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma launches The Living Room.

Believed to be the first initiative of its kind on a university campus in Australia, the Living Room will become a hub for student-focused health and wellbeing initiatives including mindfulness meditation sessions and yoga classes, as well as weekly visits from therapy and companion dogs.

“The Living Room will provide an additional warm and welcoming space, where students can take time for themselves and support is available for those who need it."

UWA Vice-Chancellor Professor Amit Chakma

Students will be encouraged to seek help when needed with connection to appropriate mental health services as well as activities on campus or in the community.

The downstairs lounge room of the heritage-listed Shenton House (built circa 1846) has been transformed to house the Living Room, facilitating a welcoming and peaceful environment for students to access when they need support.

Image: Students enjoying yoga, one of the wellness activities available.

Living Room Senior Project Officer Liz Caddy said students may receive an invitation from a UWA Health Service, residential college, Student Experience officer or Student Guild to attend the Living Room if they were feeling lonely, down in the dumps, unsure or upset about study, work or relationships, or on a waitlist for an appointment with a health service.

“Once students come in, we can offer them support and help them access existing campus health services and other wellbeing initiatives.”

Liz Caddy

“We want to be able to provide a respite for students from daily pressures and strain in a place where they can feel heard and understood,” Ms Caddy said.

“Once students come in, we can offer them support and help them access existing campus health services and other wellbeing initiatives.”

Image: Students can access wellbeing initiatives to help reduce daily pressures.

The Living Room will have access to a suite of services already available on the UWA campus, including the expertise in mental health research of the YLM Foundation, and the distinctive skills and abilities of a student peer-to-peer workforce.

The Living Room was founded with the support of Dr Tony Howarth AO CitWA and Mrs Sally Howarth and the UWA alumni community.

Professor Chakma applauded the generosity of the donors and contributors to the project.

“The Living Room will provide an additional warm and welcoming space, where students can take time for themselves and support is available for those who need it,” Professor Chakma said.

Media references

Simone Hewett, UWA Media & PR Manager, 08 6488 3229 / 0432 637 716

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