The Australian Office of Learning and Teaching (formerly the Australian Learning and Teaching Council) provided funding for the development and trial of Mend-A-Friend.
Mend-A-Friend came out of research indicating that a significant number of young adults can feel upset, distressed, anxious, stressed or depressed.
Evidence tells us that tertiary students and young adults are most likely to:
- notice changes in their friends,
- turn to friends or peers when they have a mental health or distress problem,
- do more for a friend with a mental health problem than they would do for themselves,
- avoid formal health services or clinics (tertiary students have a particular concern about the confidentiality of their mental health information if known by the tertiary institution).
We are a team with interests in young adult peer to peer relationships, mental health, e-learning, student and young adult wellbeing, education and public health. We sought regular and ongoing advice from a wide variety of people with an interest and passion for the concept of Mend-A-Friend. Individual students and young adult groups were the key source of guidance on content and site development.
Our key guiding principles in developing Mend-A-Friend included:
- giving young adults the opportunity of making themselves better helpers than they are now
- knowing that young adults feel more comfortable providing mental health help for a friend if they are better equipped and know how to help
- acknowledging that the friend-helping-friend relationship is the preferred mode for this age group and we are simply aiming to make the peer to peer relationship as helpful as possible.
If you have technical issues with the Mend-A-Friend site please contact us