Newsroom How James Cook University in Singapore Promotes Student Wellness through its Counselling and Progressions Office

Media Releases

How James Cook University in Singapore Promotes Student Wellness through its Counselling and Progressions Office

Media Releases

Tue, 2 Apr 2024
How James Cook University in Singapore Promotes Student Wellness through its Counselling and Progressions Office

James Cook University in Singapore is always prioritising and working towards nurturing students who thrive both academically and in their personal lives, and this includes taking care of their mental well-being.

University life can be stressful, with students often facing challenges such as heavy workloads, looming deadlines and high expectations to do well, while juggling personal commitments and responsibilities. To help students better cope with challenges, James Cook University in Singapore has been actively enhancing its initiatives and services through its Counselling and Progressions office.

“We believe that with better mental health, students are more well-equipped to be stronger amidst challenging times, manage stress better, improve physical well-being, and foster a more positive outlook in life,” says Professor Abhishek Singh Bhati, Campus Dean.

Expanding professional counselling services  

Counselling services have been well-received in recent years, due to increased awareness of mental health services as well as the number of enrolled students.

“Requests for counselling sessions increased by over 50% from 2021 to 2022. In 2023, the trend remained steady, with an average increase of 25% from the previous year,” explains Professor Abhishek.

To meet the increased demand for counselling sessions, the team has significantly boosted its workforce, and added another Counselling Room.

Student feedback has been positive, with 9 in 10 students who attended counselling sessions reporting that they found the sessions helpful.  

“Through counselling, I was able to increase awareness of the different parts of myself and gain acceptance of events. I also became more mindful of my strengths and coping mechanisms,” says one student.

Another student shares, “The counsellor was able to make me feel heard and validated. In addition, he communicated very well during each session, and I was able to open up easily as he frequently checked in with me during different points of the session. Overall, I had a very excellent experience.”

Encouraging peer support with the Wellness Buddies initiative

For those who may not feel comfortable seeking help in traditional counselling settings, the Wellness Buddies initiative provides a supportive alternative. Introduced in 2023, this initiative aims to establish a peer support network on campus. Students are trained and equipped with the necessary skills to offer emotional support to peers in the University.

Ms Ivy Ho, Manager Counselling and Progressions, highlights the importance of peer support in student well-being.

“It has been observed that students in distress prefer to talk to their peers first, compared to approaching professionals such as counsellors, when in distress,” Ms Ho explains.

“This could be due to the stigma related to seeking help in a professional setting. It could also be a preference in talking to someone of similar background such as age, experience, country of origin and culture whom they could better understand and connect with,” she adds.

James Cook University in Singapore students can sign up for a session with a Wellness Buddy here.

Events, workshops and campaigns

James Cook University in Singapore has also been proactive in organising events to support its students’ well-being. For instance, it has been organising Wellness Workshops on topics such as managing anxiety and social conflict, offering valuable insights into common student issues. Additionally, the University regularly sends emails containing infographics to help students with coping strategies.

In 2023, to inspire gratitude and appreciation for blessings in life, students were encouraged to write about things they were grateful about on a leaf for the “Tree of Gratitude” outside the Counselling and Progressions office. The intention was for students to see what their peers have shared, as it can be a form of motivation. About 100 students took part in the initiative.

In 2022, the University hosted a World Mental Health campaign online that focused on self-care during the examination period.

Looking ahead

The Counselling and Progressions office remains committed to enhancing student well-being through innovative programs, expanded resources, proactive engagement with the student community, and increasing the presence of Wellness Buddies on campus.  “We will continue working to build a campus environment where every student feels supported, empowered, and equipped to thrive both academically and personally," says Professor Abhishek.

Find out more about James Cook University in Singapore’s Counselling and Progressions Office.


Media: Ms Pinky Sibal [email protected] / Ms Hoe Shu Rin [email protected]