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PUBH6013 Mental Health Issues Among International Students in Melbourne Assessment 3A Answer

Subject Code and TitlePUBH6013: Qualitative Research Methods
AssessmentAssessment 3A: Investigation Report
Length1500 words (+/-10%)
Learning OutcomesThis assessment addresses the following learning outcomes:
  1. Apply qualitative research methods through undertaking data collection through, e.g. focus group, interviews, observational methods
  2. Appreciate cultural and ethical considerations for qualitative research in Public Health
  3. Understand sampling techniques, bias and rigour as they apply to qualitative research
  4. Apply coding and analysis techniques to qualitative data
Total Marks100 marks


This assessment involves preparing a report with data analysis/discussion of interviews and a brief presentation.

There are two steps for this assignment. Part A involves writing a report and Part B involves a 10 minute presentation in class

Assessment 3A advances skills in analysing and reporting qualitative data, and reflexivity of practice. Key understanding includes how to generate meaning from qualitative data, how to report the results of qualitative analysis, and how to reflect on one’s own performance to identify strengths and opportunities for growth. The assessment prepares students for an important task common to the public health practitioner role.


Analysis: Use the resources in module six to:

  1. Code the data that you collect from your interviewees.
  2. Develop themes based on your coding.
  3. Report on the themes that you’ve identified, supported by relevant quotes from your interviewees. Report this part in the same style as the results section of a qualitative journal article.

Reflection: reflect on your experience of interviewing and analysing the data. What did you do well, and what did you struggle with? What could you learn to do better? What did you learn through this experience?

Assessment Criteria:

  • Ability to interpret and analyse data, and report the results appropriately (50%)
  • Reflection upon the interview experience and demonstrates reflexivity (30%)
  • Use of academic conventions (20%)



1. Introduction

Mental health is one of the most prominent problems of the people of Australia and is also affecting the international students of the country as well. The mental health issues of the international students in the country should be paid special attention to in light of the rising prominence of the problem as well as the need for oversight and management among the varsity students. According to Prieto-Welch (2016), the psychiatric pathways for helping people in the country should find newer means to assist and help people maintain mental health. This project would investigate the mental health issues of the international students in the country and shed light on the relevant themes of it.

2. Background

According to Forbes-Mewett& Sawyer (2019), the severity and the occurrence of mental health issues among the international students of Australia. It should be noted that the rise of the mental health issues among the international students of the country is limited by the collection of the required data. There are very few data about the mental health issues of the international students despite the prevalence of it among the University students. According to ABC News (2020), there are more than 693,750 students from various countries of the world in 2018. The educational sector of the international students of the country supports more than 240,000 jobs and contributed $37.6 billion economically (ABC News, 2020). Thus, mental health of the international students in the country should be looked at retrospectively.

Some of the most relevant and recurring reasons for the mental health issue faced by the international students in Australia are cultural differences, inability of the students to understand English in class and others. Forbes-Mewett& Sawyer (2019) also provided evidence that more than 10 % of the students in the study of the research suffered with one or more forms of mental health issues. It also states that cultural socks as a primary reason for the mental distress of the students especially during the initial years of studying. Another dimension is the disparaging prevalence of the internationalstudents to self-medicate and not ask for any professional help when required which has added to the stress of the international students. Clough et al. (2019) opined that the mental health of the international students in Australia is also affected by the culture, social identity, mental health literacy during the growing years and others. The idea is that a majority of the international students do not undergo mental health education in their schools and as such they are also reluctant to accept any interventions while they are in college as well. This worsens the condition of mental health issues among the international students in Melbourne. 

3. Methodology and methods

3.1 Ethics

The primary ethics related to this project is the protection of the identity of the participants as well as the data. The name of the participants would not be divulged in any case. Access to the data would also be limited to a few people to avoid leaking. The participants of the study were provided with the necessary information about the purposed use of the answers and responses. Their voluntary participation was kept strictly private. Their consent was also obtained in a consent form and stored for future reference. The interviewees were also asked for permission to record their voices during the interview.

3.2 DataCollection

The qualitative data collection method was used for the collection of the required information. The data was collected through comprehensive interviews in which a set of 10 questions were asked with a phenomenological approach to obtain the most relevant information about the topic. The interview was conducted in the houses of the interviewees and recorded in a tape recorder. It was later transcript meticulously. 

Justification: The qualitative method of data collection helped in adding deep knowledge in the research and enhanced the value of the research. It also helped to identify the possible issues and themes of the mental health among the international students.

3.3 Participants

There were several international students known to the researcher among which four of them were chosen at random for the interview from the University by the help of purposive sampling. The participants were between the ages of 24-34 years of age of which two were males and two were females. The participants were informed of the intended use of their answers and they consented by signing the consent forms. The participants were interviewed at their homes and recorded. A set of 10 questions were supplied to them for answers.  

4. Research findings

The most relevant themes that have been identified from the interview are as follows:

Theme 1: Accessibility is one of the major issues of mental health among the international students during growing years

According to Larcombe et al. (2016), the international students of the country have very limited access to mental health serviceswhile in school. This has also been resonated by student Z who said: "I have not been formally educated in mental health issues in school.” This shows that accessibility has been one of the major issues of mental health in earlier times at least.This is responsible for the reluctance of the international students to seek medical help for depression or anxiety. They self-medicate and the effects of mental health is noted at a late stage, if at all.

Theme 2: Cultural and financial condition of the students are two of the most rudimentary causes of depression and anxiety and mental health problems

Le & McKay (2018) stated that culture and financial condition of the international students in the cities is one of the major reasons of anxiety and depression among the people. It affects the mental state of the people along with the financial worries of bills and tuition fees in college. Student A has also said, "There is a constant worry that I would not be able to pay the bills next month." This definitely sheds some light on the distress of monetary commitments of students such as education loans that are affecting mental health.The cultural differences among the students of the country and the international students also makes them feel lonely and left out and is one of the major reasons for mental health among the international students of the country.

Theme 3: The landscape of mental health is changing gradually despite being a social stigma

As stated by Narayan (2018), the acceptance of mental health issues in the country and in theinternational students is on the rise. The interventions of the Governments, as well as that of the health programs, has provided with necessary benefits. Student F also expressed similar thoughts when she said “There are so many awareness campaigns in schools, health centres and social media. The mental health is slowly being addressed and I have also been educated in it.” This shows that schools and awareness programs are educating the international students of Australia about the harmful effects of mental health as well.The international students felt a social stigma to report mental health issues due to cliched ideologies of personal strength of character being attributed to the mental health in certain countries. This resulted in reduced adherence to the cultures of the host countries and contributed to the mental health issues of the international students. Hence, it can be said that mental health issues are being gradually addressed.

5. Discussion

The interview and the identification of the themes from it have revealed that the mental health issues among the international students suffered mainly due to thecultural differences andunavailability of the mental health servicesduring growing yearsLarcombe et al. (2016) have also stated that the international students of the country suffer from extensive racial discrimination which impacts their mental health. The idea which can be formed it is that the mental health of the people of the country is affecting the notion of the idea of mental health is affected due to the long-standing practice of differentiation of the people due to the cultural differences. The students of the college are though helped through the counsellors in the college as well as the widespread awareness due to the activities of the NHS as well as that of the steps and initiatives that have been published in various channels of social media (Harris et al. 2018). It is definitely improving but there is a long way to go. The mental issues should be accepted as a normal health issue by the society of the country so that any possible fears and seeking help can be normalized.

6. Limitations

The most important limitation that can be identified for this research is the availability of a limited number of the research sample. This means that the results that have been obtained through the analysis cannot be applied and extended generally. Due to the limited time which was available for the study, the sample has been kept as low as possible so that the study can be completed within the given period of time. Etikan, Musa &Alkassim (2016) have also said that the use of purposive sampling has also affected the generalizability of the research results. These limitations of bias by the researcher have also been mitigated as much as possible through stringent data-driven analysis and methodology choices.

7. Personal reflection

This research has been extremely rewarding in terms of the knowledge which I have gained about the mental health and its prevalence among the international students of the country. While I was aware of the mental health issues, I was not educated about the dichotomy of the notion in the international students was new to me. I was also not well versed in the interview which had to be conducted for the research and learned a great many techniques of research question formation, interview techniques as well as concise research analysis which would be of immense help in my future career prospects.

8. Conclusion

The discussion above shows that mental health issues among the international students of the country are widely existent and healthcare services although increasing, requires more initiatives. The accessibility of the mental health services should be increased with a greater emphasis on the mental health in school so that the children are educated about it in school and informed enough to seek help when required. The interview has also produced some astonishing tales of discrimination and mental health issues among the students that must be dealt with immediately by the management. The themes also exhibit some of the most generally identifiable characteristics of the mental health among the international students of the University.

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