Information about the
mental-health check survey

If you are a first-year student at the University of Otago, you have been sent an email with a link to a mental-health check survey. Please, check your email and click on this link if you would like to take part in the survey.

What is the aim of this research project?

The main aim of the research is to ensure that Universities are able to identify and treat mental disorders early on so that students experience less distress and disruption from the consequences of mental disorders. Another aim of the study is to understand how common mental disorders are among students in Aotearoa New Zealand and to understand some of the causes.

Who are we seeking to participate in the project?

All first-year students are being invited to take part in the survey.

If you participate, what will you be asked to do?

Participation is voluntary and involves answering a survey that could take from 20-40 minutes. You will be asked a number of questions about your mental health including questions about mood and anxiety, whether you have had thoughts about harming yourself, and your use of alcohol. You will also be asked some questions about childhood experiences including childhood abuse and bullying, recent stressful events, and your concept of yourself.

At the end of the survey, you will be emailed confidential, personalised feedback based on your responses. You will also be able to participate in an e-therapy programme targeted to your needs. There are five programmes to choose from to teach you tools to manage common challenges university students face.

Is there any risk of discomfort or harm from participation?

Some people find answering question about these sorts of events is distressing for a short time. On the other hand, we hope that many people will find it helpful to find out more about their own mental health and to know that there is treatment available to improve their feelings.

If you do feel upset after answering the questions in this survey, we encourage you to talk to someone you trust or to visit a health professional.

What data will be collected, and how will they be used?

Your survey data will be deidentified (any identifying information will be removed) and encrypted and sent to Harvard University. Harvard University will add the New Zealand data to its international database that includes over 20 other countries. New Zealand specific data will be stored on a University of Otago computer in a de-identified format (i.e., using an ID code but no identifying information) for at least ten years.

What about anonymity and confidentiality?

Your responses to the survey will be confidential.

If you agree to participate, can you withdraw later?

You may withdraw from participation in the project at any time.

Any questions?

If you have any questions now or in the future, please feel free to contact:

Dr Charlene Rapsey
Lecturer, Registered Clinical Psychologist
Department of Psychological Medicine

Contact phone number: 474 0999 ext. 7299

This study has been approved by the University of Otago Human Ethics Committee (Health). If you have any concerns about the ethical conduct of the research you may contact the Committee through the Human Ethics Committee Administrator (phone +64 3 479 8256 or email Any issues you raise will be treated in confidence and investigated and you will be informed of the outcome.