Introducing Karan & Sakeela – International Mental Health Peer Worker

Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion have two new International Peer Workers! Meet them below.

A message from Karan:

Hello everyone! My Name is Karan Chitharanjan (Karan) and I am an International Student Mental Health Peer Worker here at La Trobe University Bundoora Campus. I am a former International Student from India who graduated with a master’s degree in 2022 while studying through the COVID-19 pandemic.

Being in a uniquely challenging situation of studying as an international student through a stressful global situation, I experienced a journey of mental ill health and subsequent recovery. Through the learnings from my own experiences and those that my peers and I shared, I am working to assist international students who might be experiencing challenges that are unique to their cohort. I hope to be able to chat with you soon and share the message that you are not alone in your experiences and that there is help available when you need it. I am also available on Zoom, for video appointments.

A message from Sakeela:

Hi, my name is Sakeela. I am the new International Student Mental Health Peer Worker working at the Health, Wellbeing and Inclusion Team in La Trobe Bendigo. I recently graduated from La Trobe University Bendigo with a Bachelor of Nursing. As a former international student from Singapore, I understand the challenges that international students faced while living in Australia.

I still remember my first day in Bendigo, I was uncomfortable and scared of the silence at night, I was confused by the slang and overwhelmed with La Trobe Learning System. I would have loved to be able to talk to someone who understood and could relate to my struggles and with my new role I am pleased to be that person for other international students. Feel free to book in a face-to-face or Zoom session with me on Mondays and Thursdays, whenever you need a listening ear.

FAQs About Peer Work

Who is a peer worker?

A peer worker is someone who draws on their own lived experiences to connect with others who are going through similar experiences. In this case, as an International Student Peer worker, you can expect to talk with someone who has the lived experience of being an International Student.

Who can benefit from speaking to a Peer Worker?

Although very rewarding, life as an international student can also be quite challenging. Moving to a different country and adapting to a way of life not experienced before can bring with it some challenges. International students who would like to talk to someone with similar experiences to gain some perspective can benefit from talking to a peer worker!

Is Peer Work different to counselling?

Yes, while counselling aims to work on challenges from a therapeutic/clinical standpoint, peer work is more relational in nature. Peer support aims to capitalise on sharing perspectives that come from similar lived experiences and ultimately share the message of hope and optimism.

How can you talk to a peer worker?

Book an appointment with our Peers Works through the below button. Please specify in the free text box that you would like to see the International Student Mental Health Peer Worker.