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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 crisis support

You can contact Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) on 86278433 from 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Outside CAPS business hours, contact the University of Sydney Crisis Support Line:

  • Call 1300 474065 (between 5pm to 9am and 24 hours over the weekend and public holidays)
  • Text 0488 884 429 for sms chat option

Find out more about the crisis support line, and counselling and psychological services at the University.

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.

Anxiety

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).

Depression

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).

Suicide

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

Phone
Address
  • Level 3, Jane Foss Russell Building, Darlington Campus
Online

Make an enquiry

Opening hours: 9am to 5pm, Monday to Friday.

Extended in-person opening hours first two weeks of semester and during exams.

Last updated: 24 May 2019

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