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Health and wellbeing

Mental health

Mental health is our ability to think, feel and behave in a way that helps us to perform at our best – in our personal lives with family and friends, at university, at work and in the community.

Mental health support services

You can contact our Student Counselling Service on 8627 8433 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

If you need to speak to someone for immediate support, the Mental Wellbeing Support Line is available any time day or night, including University close-down periods and bank holidays.

Formerly known as the University Crisis Line, the Mental Wellbeing Support Line provides free support to students experiencing emotional distress. You can speak with a counsellor after 5pm to 9am from Monday to Friday, 24 hours on Saturday and Sunday, and during University close-down periods and on 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.

  • Call 1300 474 065 (accessible within Australia)
  • Text 0488 884 429 (for sms chat option)

If you have immediate safety concerns for yourself or others, call triple zero (000) for emergency services (fire/ambulance/police).

If you require specialist Mental Health assistance, call the Mental Health Access Line 1800 011 511.

Common mental health issues

Mental health issues or illness can come in many different forms and can affect people from all ages, all walks of life, and in all countries.

In our mental health month videos you can hear from some of our students as they share their mental health journey.


We all experience some level of stress or anxiety at different times in our lives in response to challenging and stressful situations. In small doses, it can help keep us energised and usually subsides once the stressful situation has passed.

Sometimes, however, these feelings don’t pass or can occur for a prolonged amount of time or at a level that is excessive considering the situation. This can have a considerable impact on our lives, disrupting study, work and even relationships.

Signs and symptoms of anxiety can include:

  • worry
  • fear
  • sleeping difficulties
  • irritability
  • negative thinking.

Learn more about anxiety and hear people sharing their stories at Beyond Blue.

You can access information on anxiety in other languages at Wayahead's Understanding Anxiety website.

Managing anxiety

Learning to manage anxiety can improve your life in many ways. You can become less reactive to the inevitable stressors of life as they arise, feel calmer, and improve your general sense of wellbeing.

Our top 10 tips:

  • Practise relaxation exercises .
  • Exercise.
  • Eat well.
  • Get enough sleep.
  • Reduce alcohol and drugs.
  • Practise mindfulness to let go of worries.
  • Spend time with friends.
  • Ensure a study/life balance.
  • Use cognitive strategies to deal with stressful thoughts.
  • Engage in enjoyable and fun activities.

Read our self-help resources on cognitive diffusion (pdf, 99KB), thoughts and their impacts (pdf, 83KB) and managing stress (pdf, 67KB).


It is common to feel down or sad at times. If you have had to cope with a stressful event, lost someone you love or something that was very important to you, life may lose some of its meaning, at least for a short while. This usually passes, but for some people these feelings of sadness can last longer, become more intense or interfere with normal activities, becoming a more significant mental health problem referred to as ‘depression’.

Depression can involve a range of symptoms, including:

  • loss or change of appetite
  • trouble sleeping
  • tiredness
  • low mood
  • reduced motivation and energy
  • feeling worthless or guilty
  • feeling irritable, frustrated or anxious.

Find out more about depression on the World Health organisation website, including factsheets in other languages and a video about depression with subtitles in a range of languages.

If you’re concerned about the symptoms you’re experiencing and feel you may be suffering from depression, talk to one of our counsellors or see a GP. Both can provide assessment and referral to resources that might help you.

There are many things that have been shown to help people with depression, including medicine and counselling, complementary therapies, and physical activity.

There are also certain things you can do to adjust your behavioural patterns such as:

  • increasing fun activities
  • practising mindfulness
  • taking daily physical exercise.

Read our self-help resource on understanding depression (pdf, 89KB).


If you are having thoughts of suicide or of harming yourself, we strongly advise that you speak with a counsellor or your GP as soon as possible.

  • Lifeline (24 hours): 13 11 14 A confidential telephone crisis support and suicide intervention service available from a landline, payphone or mobile.
  • Suicide call back service: 1300 659 467 – free counselling 24 hours a day, seven days a week across Australia. Provides free phone, video and online counselling for anyone affected by suicide.

Student Centre



1800 SYD UNI (1800 793 864)
or +61 2 8627 1444 (outside Australia)

Find out more about how we can help

Last updated: 18 May 2022

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