UTS aims to support staff and students to participate fully in university life and realise their full potential in work and study. Our mental health programs are overseen by the Equity and Diversity Unit within the Centre for Social Justice and Inclusion. This web page offers information and resources on maintaining mental wellbeing and getting support for mental stress and mental ill health for students and staff.
What is mental health?
Good mental health is a sense of wellbeing, confidence and self-esteem. When we are mentally healthy we can fully enjoy and appreciate our day to day life, our environment and relationships, we are also able to deal with life’s challenges.
A mental illness is a health problem that significantly affects how a person thinks, behaves and interacts with other people.
Mental illnesses and ill-health come in many different forms and degrees of severity. The three most common mental illnesses in Australia are:
- Substance use disorder
Less common mental illnesses include:
- Bipolar disorder
- Personality disorders
Nearly half (45%) of all Australians will experience a mental illness sometime in their life. In any one year 20% of Australians aged 16 – 85 years will experience a mental illness, this equates to 3.2 million Australians experiencing a diagnosable mental illness every year.
|Type of illness||Male||Female||Total|
|Substance use disorder||7%||3.3%||5.1%|
|Any common mental disorder||18%||22%||20%|
Some common myths about mental illness
Myth: Mental illness is caused by a personal weakness.
Fact: A mental illness is not a character flaw. It is caused by genetic, biological, social and environmental factors. Seeking and accepting help is a sign of strength.
Myth: People with a mental illness never get better.
Fact: With the right kind of help most people do recover and lead healthy, productive and satisfying lives.
Myth: People with a mental illness can ‘pull themselves out of it’.
Fact: A mental illness is not caused by personal weakness and is not ‘cured’ by personal strength.
Myth: People with a mental illness are violent.
Fact: People with a mental illness are not more violent or dangerous than other people. People with a mental illness are more likely to harm themselves – or to be harmed – than they are to hurt other people.
Support at UTS
The UTS Counselling Service provides:
- Individual counselling
- Couples counselling
- Group work counselling
- Referrals to specialists and services
- Consultations to academics, staff and work teams
- Thinking of Leaving Uni? Don't Drop Out Drop In
- Appeals and support
- Complaints advice
The UTS Counselling Service is available to:
- Current UTS students
- Insearch students
- Couples - only if both are students
- UTS staff
Staff can use the Counselling service for urgent personal matters, for advice about where to get further assistance, and for consultations about workplace matters.
Staff members are generally offered two sessions of counselling, with an option to refer outside of UTS if further counselling is required.
Generally students have four sessions with a counsellor although more may be available if necessary.
Contact the UTS Counselling Services on 9514 1177 or visit the UTS Counselling Services website to find out more and access the extensive online self-help resources.
Employee assistance program (EAP)
All UTS staff and their immediate family members have access to free, professional and confidential wellbeing coaching service through our contracted EAP provider. Information about accessing EAP is available via Staff Connect.
Free training for staff
Mental Health for Supervisors
A half day mental health awareness course designed specifically for supervisors providing an introduction to the impact mental health problems have in the workplace, recognising the signs and symptoms of mental health problems and how to respond to emerging mental health problems will be delivered to managers and supervisors. Course dates will be advertised on staff services or email Equity & Diversity.
Mental Health Awareness
The Student Services Unit in partnership with the Equity and Diversity Unit offers a 3 hour Mental Health Awareness course free of charge to UTS staff. This course covers introductory information about mental illness and explores mental health in the UTS context, and is particularly relevant to academic staff. This course can also be tailored to meet the specific needs of your area - call the Student Services Unit on extension 1177. Courses are advertised on Staff Notices during the year.
Mental Health First Aid
Mental Health First Aid is a multi-award winning program, delivered across Australia and internationally. The 12-hour program teaches people how to confidently and effectively support others experiencing mental health problems or crises until medical or other professional support arrives. Staff can complete the course in two full-day or four half day sessions. The Equity and Diversity Unit is offering Mental Health First Aid Training to UTS Staff free of charge. Please email Equity & Diversity.
Programs for students
Students can help break down the stigma surrounding mental health issues and change the way those with mental health problems are perceived. Programs are available to enable students who have experienced mental ill health to share their story with others. These programs are run by Batyr, a non-profit organisation engaged by UTS to help empower and educate young people around mental health. For further details on these programs visit the Batyr Facebook page.
Everybody experiences anxiety. Anxiety is a normal human reaction to help us avoid dangerous situations and is useful in motivating us to solve everyday problems. An Anxiety Disorder is different to normal stress, tension and anxiety. Anxiety Disorders are more severe, longer lasting and interfere with work, study and relationships.
Anxiety and Anxiety Disorders can vary in severity from mild uneasiness or to a terrifying panic attack.
Find out more:
- Feeling anxious? Try this simple checklist (opens an external site) and find out about the signs and symptoms of some common types of anxiety disorders.
- Signs and symptoms of anxiety (opens an external site).
- Risk factors for anxiety and anxiety disorders (opens an external site).
Anxiety can be helped with a range of medical and psychological approaches and treatments.
Find out more about treatments for anxiety (opens an external site).
Feeling down, emotional or sad is not the same as Depression. Depression is when these feelings or ‘symptoms’ last for more than two weeks and affect our relationships and ability to work or study.
Find out more:
- Feeling a bit low? Try some simple checklists (opens an external site)
- Signs and symptoms of depression (opens an external site)
- Risk factors for depression
- (opens an external site)
Depression may get worse if left untreated, so it’s important to find the right treatment for you as early as possible.
Find out more about treatments for depression (opens an external site).
Help is available
There are a wide range of services available to help you manage any health concerns.
Community health centres
Community health centres aim to improve the health and well-being of the community through a range of health assessment, management, counselling and education services. They are open to the community through direct walk-ins, telephone contact or via referral.
Specific services include mental health, alcohol and drug services, health therapies, community nursing, family and child health, aged assessment and rehabilitation and health education programs. There is also counselling and support and treatment for anyone who may have social, emotional, psychiatric or relationship problems.
Your local doctor/ general practitioner
General Practitioners (GPs) can give you advice and if necessary, refer you to specialised health professionals. The Beyond Blue directory has a list of local Doctors who have specialist training in mental health issues.
Community mental health centres
Every area of Sydney is covered by a community mental health team. These teams consist of a number of health professionals (psychiatrists, nurses, social workers, psychologists and occupational therapists) who provide services to mentally ill clients such as assessment, support, case management and crisis response teams.
Telephone counselling services
Counselling and support is available 24 hours, 7 days a week.
Face to face counselling is available in some areas.
Call them on 13 11 14 or visit the Lifeline website (opens an external site).
- Salvation Army Careline
Counselling and support is available 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
Call them on 1300 36 36 22 or visit the Salvo Care Line website (opens an external site).
- Kids Helpline
Kids Helpline care and will listen anytime for any reason.
Call them on 1800 551 800 or visit the Kids Helpline website (opens an external site).
- Mensline Australia
Supporting men and their families.
Call them on 1300 78 99 78 or visit the Mensline website (opens an external site).
- Family Drug Support
Family drug support is available 24 hours a day.
Call them on 1300 368 186 or visit the Family Drug Support website.
- Alcohol and Drug Information Services (ADIS)
These services are available across Australia, 24 hours a day.
They try to answer any questions about alcohol, tobacco or other drugs.
Call them on 1800 422 599.
Australia’s first nationally-oriented counselling and referral service for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Intersex (LGBTI) people.
Counselling services will be available 7 days a week, 365 days a year between the hours of 3pm – 12am Australia wide.
Call them on 1800 184 527 or visit the QLife website (opens external link)