Ben (one of the counsellors) who also starred in this cool student-created video prepared a brief case study for the Student Experience Team a while back about OASIS – the student community centre on the Bedford Park campus. 

I thought the case study was worth reproducing here on the blog because Ben provides a nice overview of the underlying philosophy of OASIS as well as his top 6 tips for improving your health and fitness. With his permission, it is reproduced below. 


Intro: Ben Smith is the Oasis Student Community Wellbeing Centre Coordinator*. He is also one of the counsellors at the Flinders University Health, Counselling and Disability Service. Ben has been working at Flinders for seven years now and facilitates many student wellbeing services.  Ben talks about OASIS, and his top tips for improving your mental fitness.

Case Study: The best way I can describe OASIS, is that it is a community centre on campus. We run a wide range of programs that help students build connections, friendships and look after their mental health. We also run a community market and are a venue for lots of informal catch ups and activities. The centre is often a place where students come to escape from study related stress.

The aim of OASIS is to promote wellbeing for student success. There is a lot of evidence that caring for your mental, physical, social and spiritual health is important to your academic success.

I’ve noticed in my work as a counsellor that students tend to do better when they feel connected to a community at university. We encourage students to come to the centre to build those connections, and to gain skills on how to care for their own mental health and wellbeing to get the best out of themselves. This can be different things for different people, for some it is practicing mindfulness, or volunteering to help others, or learning how to meditate, or practicing yoga. For others it may be going to the gym, or spending time in nature.

Find the recipe that works for you, we can help with the ingredients.

At the centre, we aim to bridge the gap between clinical services, such as doctors and counsellors, and the things students can do for themselves and each other to improve our mental health, and overall wellbeing. We all have mental health, and for all of us, our mental health varies at times.  Sometimes it is useful to obtain clinical support and care, but there is also a lot we can do for ourselves to take charge of our own wellbeing and mental fitness.

Below I have listed my top six tips to improve your mental health and fitness.

  1. Understand failures are natural and a common part of learning. Failures don’t define you, so don’t let them make you feel incompetent or incapable.
  2. Always exercise self-compassion. Don’t be too self-critical but show, love, gratitude and self-compassion to yourself.
  3. Learn to live mindfully and enjoy the moment. Notice the things you’re doing right now and enjoy the simple things life has to offer.
  4. Make friends with anxiety. Anxiety isn’t always a bad thing and doesn’t mean you’re doing anything wrong – it’s often evidence you’re doing something you care about.
  5. Exercise. This is one of the most effective ways to improve not only physical fitness, but mental fitness too. Exercising at least 3 times a week for 30 minutes can make a huge positive impact to your mental wellbeing.
  6. Find your tribe. There is something for everyone at uni – join a club, start a study group, take up a sport, or what-ever it takes to stay connected and involved.

If you or you know anyone that is feeling significant emotional distress, experiencing mental health difficulties, or having thoughts of self-harm please get support. During University hours contact Health, Counselling and Disability on counselling@flinders.edu.au or 82012118. After hours and 24 hours on weekends use the confidential Flinders after hour’s crisis support line. Call 1300 512 409 or text 0488 884 103.

To learn more about OASIS, programs and services please visit https://oasis.flinders.edu.au/

* Ben is currently on assignment within FUSA. Looking after OASIS at the moment is the ever-friendly Chris O’Grady.

Gareth Furber

About Gareth Furber

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