Virtual peer mentoring to improve wellbeing in tertiary settings: A scoping review

Stephanie Smith, Kitty-Rose Foley, Beth Mozolic-Staunton, Ben Milbourn, Sonya Girdler

Research output: Contribution to conferencePosterResearchpeer-review


Introduction: Over 200,000 university students are diagnosed with a mental health condition each year. Mental health symptoms can significantly impact occupational engagement and participation. Tertiary institutions are expected to offer cost-effective strategies in response.

Objective: The aim of this review was to identify what is known about virtual peer support programs, the characteristics of these programs and their reported efficacy.

Method: A scoping review was undertaken utilising Arksey and O′Malley's framework. Search terms used were (Education OR College OR University OR Academy OR Institute OR School) AND ((Peer AND (Support* OR Counsel* OR coach* OR Guidance*)) AND ((Mental) AND (Health OR stability OR hygiene OR balance OR illness)) AND (student OR Pupil OR Scholar). Research relating to virtual peer mentoring programs delivered to first year tertiary education students was assessed using published data extraction tools.

Results: Ten studies were included for data extraction, thematic and bibliometric analysis. Initial analysis identified that the peer mentoring training included a variation of face to face and virtual models focusing on mindfulness, psychoeducation, cognitive behaviour therapy strategies and referral pathways. High attrition rates were reported across most studies. Further themes will be identified and presented.

Conclusion: Research exploring virtual peer supports is limited. Virtual peer mentoring provides an opportunity to improve accessibility to supports and improve wellbeing. Improved knowledge surrounding efficacy of virtual peer mentoring programs would be beneficial for occupational therapists working in the mental health sector and/or telehealth.
Original languageEnglish
Publication statusPublished - 19 Jun 2023
EventOccupational Therapy Australia 30th National Conference and Exhibition - Cairns, Australia
Duration: 21 Jun 202323 Jun 2023
Conference number: 30


ConferenceOccupational Therapy Australia 30th National Conference and Exhibition
Internet address


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