Tuesday 18 June 2019 3:33pm
Silverline team members Tom Hardy, Amal Abdullahi and Arthur Hon Sheng with the Youth Health Volunteer Team Award at the Minister of Health Volunteer Awards in Wellington. (Credit: Silverline)
University of Otago mental health and wellbeing initiative Silverline is the joint winner of the Youth Health Volunteer Team Award at the Minister of Health Volunteer Awards.
Silverline is a student-led, student-focused mental health and wellbeing initiative at the University. The team was presented their award at Parliament on 17 June. The team jointly won the award with Reading Buddies from Michael Park School in Auckland.
Silverline began as a half-year experiment in the second semester of 2017 aimed at challenging the student community to show they cared about their mental health.
The experiment was such a success it evolved into a community and a movement, delivering a creative and novel approach to mental health and wellbeing.
In 2019 they were awarded $52,000 of funding from the Ministry of Education to enhance international student wellbeing.
Silverline International Student Wellbeing Lead Amal Abdullahi says having the recognition from the Ministry of Health shows the work Silverline does is needed and important for the community.
“The judging panel was very happy with what we do. They expressed a wish for Silverline to be in all universities, not just Otago,” she says.
Since 2017, Silverline has handed out 9000 Silverline wellbeing resources, held two Silverline student wellbeing festivals, played a key role in delivering the inaugural University Mental Health Awareness Week in 2019, introduced several new student engagement events, and created MyStory, a platform for students to own and share their mental health struggles.
The importance of Silverline to the Otago community comes down to a growing need for support for mental health, Miss Abdullahi says.
“Silverline provides a community for people to connect and grow when it comes to mental health and wellbeing.”
The Silverline team is already busy planning for the next student wellbeing festival on 13 and 14 of September.
There are also plans for growth. The group is still relatively young but they hope to eventually build a sustainable model that can be shared with other universities and adapted to fit, Miss Abdullahi says.