University hosts major regional mental health and education conference

June 11 / 62

The University’s engagement with the wider Victorian community was furthered early last month with the inaugural Mental Illness and Neurological Disorders (MINDs) and Education Conference in Bendigo.

The conference was the largest of its kind to be held in regional Victoria, with more than 200 people attending the one-day event.

Hosted by the National Disability Coordination Officer program (NDCO Region 15, Central-Western Victoria), which is administered by the University’s Equity and Access Programs Unit, the conference explored the ways in which mental illness and neurological disorders were dealt with in higher education and the workforce.

NDCO and Equity and Diversity Project Officer Martin Plowman said the conference provided a valuable professional development opportunity for educators and people already working in the sector, as well as raising awareness of the issues surrounding mental illness, and education and employment. 

“Better links between these sectors will help improve and smooth the transitions experienced by people with disabilities as they move between education and employment,” he said. 

Speakers included the University researchers Associate Professor Eoin Killackey from the Centre for Youth Mental Health and Associate Professor Lisa Bourke from the School of Rural Health.

Fourteen presentations were delivered by 16 speakers including academics, specialist consultants, peak body representatives, Victorian and Federal Government Program Officers, professional network and association members and three young people forming a ‘student experience’ panel. 

Dr Plowman said staff organised the conference to help create better links between education, employment, and disability service providers. 

“The University is committed to supporting diversity and equity among the student and staff population, and the greater community. Improving the transitions of people with disabilities at an early stage in their post-compulsory schooling lives improves their chances of coming to study at the University.”

He said the conference was a resounding success.

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