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Health and wellbeing

Your safety and wellbeing is our highest priority. We’re committed to doing all we can to make sure you have the support you need while at uni.

Wellbeing support

When we are mentally and physically healthy we can fully enjoy and appreciate our day-to-day life, environment and relationships, as well as deal with life’s challenges.

Here you can find a range of information and resources to help you keep yourself healthy while at university. From common mental health issues and support contacts, to mindfulness and general health tips, these pages are designed to help you support yourself and others.

Student wellbeing

Student wellbeing offers a range of confidential and free health, wellbeing, and personal supports.

If you are experiencing wellbeing concerns and would like to connect with somebody, the first step is to complete our registration form. Once your form is received, a clinician from Student wellbeing will call you to discuss your support needs. We will respond to you within 24-48 business hours of your enquiry.

While our registration form is the quickest way to connect with a team member, if you need to speak with somebody, you can also call us on +61 2 8627 8433

24/7 and after hours

Get help in an emergency: We are committed to providing a safe environment for all students.


After hours mental wellbeing support line

If you’re in Australia, you can contact the support line by calling 1300 474 065 or by texting 0488 884 429 outside of office hours (5 pm to 9 am weekdays, 24/7 weekends and public holidays).

The service provides free and confidential access to wellbeing support and advice to help you find relief from current emotional distress, explore coping strategies, and advice pathways for longer term solutions.

Community resources

24-hour support is also available from the following community resources:

Are you an international student?

Sonder offers:

  • multilingual support, available 24/7 via Sonder’s in-app chat or by phone when you need someone to talk to
  • specialised and practical COVID-19 support if you are quarantined or self-isolating, including delivery of essential supplies and daily welfare checks
  • reliable, accurate information and up-to-date safety tips.

To activate, download the app and create a new account using your University of Sydney email address from your OSHC policy.

Self-help resources and apps

Access free and instant support for your wellbeing. You can access the Clinical Helpline, 24/7. In multiple languages and from anywhere in the world.

Download the app.

Head Set by the Student Counselling Service is an online resource that offers a variety of evidence-based information and practices. These are aimed at helping you manage psychological wellbeing to achieve your individual goals at university. Access the Head Set site in Canvas.

Mindfulness and relaxation don’t come naturally to most of us, but can be achieved over time with patience and practice.

Spend as little as 10 minutes a day with our guided breathing and muscle relaxation exercises to help yourself get grounded and reduce feelings of anxiety or stress, or download the smiling mind app and practice daily meditation and mindfulness on any device.

Mindfulness exercises

Relaxation exercises

Breathing exercises

How we breathe can have a direct effect on our stress or anxiety levels.

Our bodies naturally maintain a balance between carbon dioxide and oxygen but when we are stressed we often begin to breathe very quickly (hyperventilate) and take in more oxygen than we need. This triggers chemical changes that are harmless but can produce symptoms such as dizziness, light-headedness and confusion. These are then often misinterpreted as frightening or dangerous and so feed feelings of anxiety or even panic.

You can practise breathing exercises (mp3, 5.9MB) to help you slow down your breathing and so reduce feelings of stress and anxiety.

Progressive muscle relaxation

Stress can often lead to muscle tension. Progressive muscle relaxation teaches you how to recognise the difference between tension and relaxation in the body, helping you reduce the tension from your muscles. The general method is to tense and then relax all of the main muscle groups in your body.

The Centre for Clinical Interventions has a useful information sheet on progressive muscle relaxation (pdf, 68KB) which outlines the procedure for practising this exercise. A guided progressive muscle relaxation exercise (mp3, 17.4MB) is also available in MP3 format.

Other relaxation exercises available:

Maintaining our general health and wellbeing is important. Being healthy and keeping well is about making sure we eat well, move more, sleep better and be aware of our limits when it comes to alcohol.

Being healthy and keeping well is about making sure we eat well, move more, sleep better and be aware of our limits when it comes to alcohol.

Eat well

A healthy diet is essential if you want to feel good and stay well. Eating well can have positive benefits on your energy levels, concentration, memory and mood.

Tips for eating well:

  • Check out the Australian guide to healthy eating – a visual food selection guide representing the five recommended food groups.
  • Better Health – information on healthy eating, recipe ideas and lunchbox tips
  • Download an evidence-based app to help you be informed about the food choices you’re making:
    • the 8700 app can help you when eating out to make a healthier choice
    • the FoodSwitch app can help you when buying products in the supermarket.

Move more

Regular activity and exercise are essential for good health. Anything counts as exercise – as long as it gets you moving and your heart racing!

One of the easiest ways to move more is by cycling or walking to campus – it’s good for your wallet and for the health of the planet.

You can also explore the sport and fitness facilities available on campus. Joining a University club or society can also be a great way to exercise your brain and body, learn new things, practise your leadership skills and make friends who share your interests.

Sleep better

Sleep can play an important role in our daily functioning and physical and mental health. Good sleep can improve mental performance, lead to less anxiety and improved mood and energy levels.

Read our sleep tips (pdf, 72KB) for strategies to help improve your sleep.

Alcohol and drugs

If you are feeling that your drinking or drug use is starting to affect your health, study, or relationships, or that you increasingly need a substance in order to function, cope, or have a good time, it might be time to act.

  • Think about the things that are important to you, such as your family, partner, studies, or health. How does your use affect those things?
  • Talk it over with someone you trust. Ask the person how he or she feels about your alcohol or drug use.
  • Ask yourself if there’s anything preventing you from changing. What are some things that could help you make the change?
  • Think about your past attempts at change, if any. What worked? What didn’t?

Get help

Alcohol Drug Information Service (ADIS) NSW: 02 9361 8000 – 24-hour referrals and counselling.

Family Drug Support (FDS): 1300 368 186 – 24-hour support to families in crisis due to drug and alcohol issues.


As humans we use our relationships with other people to create a life that is rich, meaningful and rewarding.

There is no such thing as a perfect relationship. We do much better when we can accept that there will be challenges in our relationships, handle the stress of these the best we can and take action to make our relationships healthier.

You can find out more about healthy relationships (pdf, 214KB) or how to deal with arguments and conflict in your relationships (pdf, 89KB);

Effective communication (pdf, 126KB) can also help us build positive relationships.

It is also important to understand consent, and how to be sexually healthy and safe in your relationships. Find out more about sexual health and consent.

Additional resources:

  • Relationships Australia – a community-based, not-for-profit Australian organisation providing support services to support all people in Australia to achieve positive and respectful relationships.


For many people, at some point in their lives, there will be times when they question their sexual orientation.

See the Pride Network page for support and resources available on campus as well as externally.

Wellbeing contacts

Contacts in China

With the assistance of Lifeline colleagues in Shanghai, China, we have verified the following services in-country:

Guangzhou Crisis Research and Intervention Center

Mandarin and Cantonese speaking
24 hour service
(020) 8189 9120, please add +86 if calling from outside China

Chinese Mental Health Line in Shanghai only

Mandarin speaking
24 hour service
(021) 6303 6588, please add +86 if calling from outside China


Mandarin speaking
24 hour service
400 161 9995

Chinese Crisis Line, Beijing Suicide Research and Prevention Center

Mandarin speaking
24 hour service
(010) 8295 1332 if calling from a mobile or 800 810 1117 if calling from a landline

Lifeline Shanghai

English speaking only
24 hour service
(021) 6279 8990, please add +86 if calling from outside China

Student wellbeing

  • Level 5 Jane Foss Russell Building G02
Opening hours

9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Refer a student to support

Complete the Student Wellbeing Care Report to notify the University about situations where a student may need support. 

Last updated: 15 April 2024

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