Do you know that one in four people will experience a mental health problem at some stage in their lives? And, according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics, 18% of Australians aged 16-85 years old experience a mental illness in any given year. International students are often under a lot of pressure, juggling studies with working and living in a new country. So it’s no wonder that mental health issues are common among this group.
How do you know you need help with your mental health?
Everyone feels stressed or down at one time or another in life. But if you’re feeling like this more often than not, or it’s impacting your daily life, it might be time to seek some help.
You must see a counsellor or seek the help of mental health professional if:
- You are feeling confused, overwhelmed, or hopeless for more than two weeks.
- You cannot concentrate on studies, work, or other hobbies.
- Your sleeping patterns have changed (trouble falling asleep, waking up often, or feeling exhausted during the day). Sleeping patterns may change naturally when you’re under stress, but if these changes are severe or last for more than two weeks, it’s a sign that something is wrong.
- You are using alcohol or drugs to cope with your feelings. This can make things worse and lead to addiction problems.
- You are eating more or less than usual, resulting in significant weight loss or gain.
- You are feeling anxious or having panic attacks. Anxiety means feeling nervous or scared about something that is going to happen. Panic attacks are sudden, intense episodes of fear that can come on without warning. Some symptoms of panic attacks are racing heart, sweating, shaking, shortness of breath, and feeling dizzy or faint.
- You are feeling persistently angry, irritable, or aggressive. International students often have to deal with racism or discrimination, which can be very upsetting. If you’re feeling like this, it’s important to talk to someone about it.
- You are self-harming (cutting, burning, or bruising yourself) or thinking about harming yourself. This is a sign that you are in a lot of pain and need help immediately.
- You are feeling disconnected from friends and family or have lost interest in activities you used to enjoy. This might be a symptom of depression.
If you’re experiencing any of these symptoms, it’s important to seek help as soon as possible. It’s not always easy to reach out for help, but there are many support services available for international students in Australia.
The first step is to talk to your GP (general practitioner). Your GP can provide you with a referral to a mental health professional, such as a psychiatrist, psychologist, or counsellor. If you don’t have a GP, you can find one through the Australian Medical Association website.
Top Mental Health Resources for International Students in Australia
If you’re an international student in Australia and you’re struggling with your mental health, there are plenty of resources available to help you. As a first step, international students should approach their universities’ Student Counselling and Psychological Services (CAPS) for confidential counselling support. They can get help with a range of issues, including anxiety, depression, stress, homesickness, and relationship problems.
Besides CAPS, many other mental health organisations offer help and advice to international students in Australia. Some of the top mental health resources are highly recommended by TutorHelp.Club experts are:
Lifeline Australia is a national charity providing all Australians experiencing a personal crisis with access to 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services. If you’re feeling suicidal or hopeless, please call Lifeline Australia on 13 11 14 immediately.
It was started in 1963 by the Rev. Dr. Trevor Jarman, a Baptist minister, who was concerned about the high suicide rate in Australia. Lifeline’s services are available to everyone, regardless of age, gender, ethnicity, religion, or sexual orientation.
LA also offers mental health support and emotional assistance on the phone as well as face-to-face. If you need someone to talk to outside of their phone counselling hours, you can chat online with a trained crisis supporter between 7 pm-4 am AEST.
Beyond Blue is an Australian organisation that works to increase awareness and understanding of anxiety and depression in Australia. They provide information and support to help everyone in the community achieve their best possible mental health.
Started by the Australian Government in 2000, Beyond Blue works with health professionals, schools, workplaces, and community groups to deliver programs and services that aim to prevent mental health problems and support people who are experiencing anxiety or depression.
Beyond Blue also has a dedicated Support Service for international students in Australia. The service offers information, advice, and referral to international students via phone, email, and webchat (between 3 pm and midnight AEST).
Headspace is a national youth mental health foundation that provides early intervention mental health services to 12-25-year-olds, along with education and training to the wider community.
Started by youth mental health organization, the OnETEEN Clinic, in 2006, Headspace now has over 60 centers across Australia. They are present in all states and territories, with a particular focus on rural and regional areas.
Headspace provides a range of services, including general counselling, group programs, psychological assessments, and medication support. They also have an online and app-based service called headspace, which offers confidential counselling and support via phone, email, and webchat.
Here, you can get online and telephone support, information, and referral. They also have a dedicated team that can provide support and advice to international students in Australia.
The Black Dog Institute
The Black Dog Institute is a world leader in the diagnosis, treatment, and prevention of mood disorders such as depression and bipolar disorder. They offer a range of resources, including online self-help programs, workshops, and seminars.
Founded in 2002 by Professor Gordon Parker AO, the Black Dog Institute is based at the Prince of Wales Hospital in Sydney. They work to improve the lives of people affected by mood disorders through their research, clinical services, education, and training programs.
The institute has a range of online resources available, including e-learning courses on depression and anxiety, self-help resources, and an online forum. They also offer a telephone support service for people experiencing depression or anxiety, which is available Monday-Friday from 9 am-5 pm AEST.
Sane Australia is a national charity that works to support people affected by mental illness. They offer a range of services and resources, including an online forum, helpline, and e-newsletter.
Started in 1986 by Dr. Aaron T. Beck, Sane Australia works to improve the quality of life for people affected by mental illness. They do this through their education, training, and support programs, which aim to increase understanding and reduce the stigma around mental illness.
Sane Australia has a dedicated helpline for international students in Australia, which is available Monday-Friday from 10 am-10 pm AEST. The helpline offers information, support, and referral for international students who are experiencing mental illness.
If you need help with your mental health, don’t hesitate to reach out to one of these organisations for support. Remember, you’re not alone. There are plenty of people who care about you and want to help you through this tough time.
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