Instructions: Select each heading to learn more about some common mental health concerns.


Stress is a natural and healthy response to managing mental and/or physical demands. However, it can have a negative effect on our health if it is excessive or prolonged. Signs of stress may include sleep disturbances, appetite changes, headaches, moodiness, feeling anxious or overwhelmed, muscle tension and pain, or increased use of alcohol or drugs to relax. Stress can be related to many things including financial pressure, unemployment or concern of job loss, health concerns, grief or loss, adjustment to major changes, study or work pressure, or relationship difficulties. Counselling can help reduce the negative effects of stress by helping you to learn healthy coping strategies and sort through your concerns to feel more in control of the situation.


Mental Health Foundation Australia:

Better Health Channel:

Motivation Issues

During your studies, you might experience some challenges with your study or motivation. While motivation feels good, energising, and drives us to get things done, it doesn’t always come naturally. We all face challenging or slow periods when motivation feels hard to come by. During these times, we can find it difficult to attend class, complete assignments, or study for exams. Feeling unmotivated can also lead to procrastination. Counsellors can assist you with developing strategies to increase your motivation and improve your engagement with your studies. Helpful resources are listed below:



Improving Motivation (UTS website):

Workplace Stress

Work-related stress is the second most commonly compensated illness/injury in Australia. Work-related stress arises where work demands of various types and combinations exceed the person’s capacity and capability to cope. Work stress can be caused by various situations, for example, you might feel under pressure if the demands of your job (such as the hours or responsibilities) are greater than you can comfortably manage. Symptoms can include fatigue, headaches, muscular tensions, sleep difficulties, depression, anxiety, feeling overwhelmed, reduced ability to concentrate, irritability, drop in work performance, issues in interpersonal relationships, lower tolerance of frustration, and increased sicks day or absenteeism. Counselling support can help you work through your difficulties and discuss ways to manage and improve your symptoms. Further resources include:

Heads up:

Better Health:

OHS Rep:


Depression is more than just feeling a bit down. Someone with depression may experience a persistent low mood, loss of interest in activities that previously brought enjoyment, low motivation and energy, low self-esteem, sleep and appetite disturbances, social withdrawal, trouble with concentration or memory, and in some cases self-harm or thoughts of suicide. Treatments for depression include psychological therapy or counselling, medication, exercise and mindfulness, among others. Speaking with a counsellor can help you to understand, manage and improve the factors affecting your mood. The counsellors can also assist you to link in with other support services.

Black Dog Institute:

Beyond Blue:


Anxiety & Panic

Anxiety is more than just feeling stress or worried. Anxiety is something we all experience from time to time and is our body’s way of preparing us to manage difficult situations. Anxiety can affect your ability to concentrate, sleep or carry out your everyday tasks at work, at home or at school. Anxiety can also motivate us. If we feel a bit anxious about an assignment that is due, it can help us to get it done on time. However, feeling too much anxiety about something usually gets in the way and can be unhealthy. Symptoms can include racing heart, rapid breathing, sweaty palms or butterflies in your stomach. Counselling support can help you to understand and better manage your anxiety, in turn improving the symptoms. Other anxiety supports and resources include:

Beyond Blue:



Relationship difficulties

Difficulties in romantic relationships, family relationships, friendships and working relationships can cause significant stress and contribute to poor wellbeing. Counselling can help to identify and clarify issues in a relationship or in an individual’s interpersonal patterns, and build interpersonal skills to make positive changes, such as communication and assertiveness training, exploring alternative perspectives and building empathy. In the event of violence in a relationship, a counsellor can help you to get in contact with appropriate services and start the healing process.

Relationships Australia:

Relationship Matters:

1800 Respect:

Loss & Bereavement

Loss & Bereavement

Grief is a normal and healthy response to the loss of something important; this may be the death of a loved one, the loss of a job, the loss of a pregnancy, the end of a relationship or a major life transition. Grief can look different for everyone, and will last for differing amounts of time. Grief responses may include crying, low mood, social withdrawal, anger, denial, shock, numbness, hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, shame or increased use of alcohol or drugs. It takes time to adjust to the new way of life and it is important to be kind to yourself during this process. Talking about what you are going through can make a big difference. Helping another person who is grieving is also a very difficult task, and speaking to a counsellor for additional support could be helpful.


The Australian Centre for Grief and Bereavement:


Self-Esteem & Confidence

Self-esteem is the way we think about ourselves and the value we place on ourselves. We all criticise ourselves sometimes but if you often find yourself thinking badly of yourself or criticising yourself, you might have low self-esteem. Signs of low self-esteem include saying negative things and being critical about yourself, focusing on your negatives and ignoring your achievements, thinking other people are better than you, not accepting compliments, and feeling sad, depressed, anxious, ashamed or angry. Self-esteem can affect your relationships or affect your performance at school or work. You might also have difficulties with body image, drink too much alcohol or take drugs, and you might not stand up for yourself when you are being bullied or abused. Self-esteem can seriously impact your mental health. Our counselling team can work with you to improve your self-confidence and build your self-respect, by exploring your strengths, celebrating your achievements and challenging your negative thinking. Other supports and resources include:

Better Health:



Body Image & Eating Concerns

Body image refers to the thoughts feelings and beliefs we have about how our bodies look and feel. How we feel about our bodies can affect how we treat ourselves and how we interact with the world. Negative body image may also be associated with problem eating behaviours, such as dieting, restricting food intake, calorie counting, binge-eating; and compensatory behaviours such as excessive exercise, purging or misuse of laxatives or diuretics. Body image and eating behaviours can be significantly affected by stress and other mental health factors. Counselling can assist with identifying and addressing problematic thinking and behavioural patterns contributing to negative body image or eating concerns.


Eating Disorders Victoria:

Better Health Channel:


Anger is a normal emotion experienced by everyone. People often think about anger as a negative emotion, but anger can actually be helpful. It can motivate us to solve problems and achieve goals.

However, if we fail to deal with anger constructively, it can damage our relationships and create other problems. Unexpressed anger can be extremely stressful and result in high levels of tension and anxiety, health problems and increased accidents. It is essential that we understand the reasons for our anger, how it affects us and how to effectively manage it.

The American Psychological Association:

Australian Psychological Society:


Sometimes bullying starts as teasing but then gets worse. None of us like to be bullied; if this happens to you, take some action to protect yourself and report it to BHI staff. If you witness bullying, consider what the best response you can make is. If you are seen as a bully, then it's time to take steps to change your behaviour.

This is a comprehensive Australian site that has space for students to share their experiences and learn coping strategies:

Kids Helpline has a useful section on bullying and access to online counselling:


Cyberbullying refers to the use of email, instant messaging, online forums, mobile phones, pagers or other forms of information technology to deliberately harass, threaten or intimidate someone. Cyberbullying has become more common in recent years following advances in technology, increased interest in social networking websites, and instant messaging networks. People, especially adolescents, spend more time on the computer than previous generations, resulting in increased accessibility. For example, what was once limited to the school yard can now occur online after-hours. This may result in relentless bullying which becomes increasingly distressing to the victim, and may result in low self-esteem, anxiety or depression. 

Stop Cyberbullying:

Cyber Smart:

Health Issues

To worry about your health is a normal human experience. Health anxiety can be challenging and cause significant distress or impact your functioning. Health anxiety can exist in people who are healthy, in people who are experiencing real yet unexplained medical symptoms, and in people who have an existing and diagnosed medical condition. Counselling can help support you in learning to respond and cope with your symptoms in a helpful way. Further supports can be found at:

Beyond Blue:

Better Health:

Alcohol & Drugs

Drugs and alcohol can have a major impact on your physical and emotional health, as well as influencing you socially and academically. They may also interfere with your judgement, concentration and physical coordination, affecting safety when working with tools, machinery or driving. The counsellors at Student Life can help you to address some problems relating to alcohol and drug use, and to link you in with specialist support, if required. 

The following internet sites provide information about drugs and alcohol, and helpful hints on how to reduce the negative effects of them on your life. They also provide contact details for services that can assist with addressing substance use issues, should you prefer to gain support outside of BHI.

Australian Drug Foundation:

Drug Aware:

The Youth Substance Abuse Service (YSAS):

Turning Point Drug and Alcohol Centre:

Quit Smoking

    Australian Psychological Society:


    Problem Gambling

    Gambling is a part of Australian culture, and is not necessarily an issue on its own. Gambling becomes a problem when it has a negative effect on your life; such as being unable to control impulses to gamble, taking more risks, neglecting other areas of your life in favour of gambling, or losing more money than you can afford to. Often, problem gambling starts out as a coping mechanism (e.g. escapism, a pastime, or a perceived way out of a financial jam) but eventually creates more issues than it is solving. Problem gambling is an addictive behaviour and can cause significant anxiety and stress; for both the gambler and for those around them. If you are concerned about your gambling habits, or those of someone you know, speaking to a counsellor can be helpful to identify the issue and gain support.

    Gambling Help Online:

    Gamblers Anonymous Australia:


    Coping with Traumas

    Trauma refers to an event involving actual or threatened death or serious injury. The event may directly impact on the person, or the trauma may result from the person witnessing harm to someone else.

    Trauma may result from events including:

    • Physical assault
    • Sexual assault
    • Robbery
    • Natural disasters such as bushfires, earthquakes and floods
    • Arson
    • Car accidents
    • War or terrorism
    • Workplace accidents
    • Unexpected death of another person

    Trauma can be catastrophic to the affected person's wellbeing and functioning. Typical reactions to a traumatic event may include anger, irritability, anxiety, mentally re-experiencing the event, distressing dreams, feeling jumpy and hyper-alert, avoidance of things associated with the trauma and difficultly sleeping. These websites give tips on how to minimise the impact of a trauma:

    Understanding and managing psychological trauma:

    Phoenix Australia - Centre for Posttraumatic Mental Health:

    If you are traumatised by being the victim of a violent crime, you may like to obtain practical support and counselling from the Eastern Victims Assistance and Counselling Program:

    Culture Shock

    If you move to another country, there are adjustments to be made.

    You may have to deal with differences in everyday greetings, learning and teaching styles, climate, gestures, strange food and an unfamiliar landscape. People look, act and speak differently!

    The experience of moving into another culture is sometimes described as "culture shock". Culture shock is the emotional and behavioural reaction to living in another culture. Everyone who moves to a new culture suffers culture shock to some degree.

    The symptoms of culture shock can be both physical and psychological. Typical physical symptoms include headaches, stomach aches or tiredness. Psychological symptoms include impatience, a feeling of isolation, feeling sad or feeling unsettled.

    It is important to be aware you are not alone in experiencing culture shock. It is a normal part of living in a different country. Speaking to a counsellor can be helpful.

    Emergency advice and assistance can be obtained from the Institute’s preferred insurance provider Bupa Australia. Please refer to the Bupa Australia website.

    At the Box Hill Institute we celebrate diversity and we strive to be a safe and welcoming place for our students in the LGBTIQA+ community. If you would like to speak with someone outside of your friends and family about your sexual orientation, gender identity or gender expression, our counsellors are here to listen and support you.

    Switchboard Victoria:

    National LGBTI Health Alliance:

    Equality Australia:

    Family Violence

    In Australia, approximately 16% of women and 5.9% of men have experienced violence at the hands of a partner since the age of 15, and more than 1 million children have been affected by family violence. Family violence may occur between partners, parents and children, adult children towards elderly parents, between siblings, caregivers towards people with disabilities, and between extended family members. Violence may be physical, sexual, verbal, emotional, psychological, spiritual, cultural or financial in nature. Often there is a sense of threat, coercion, dominion or control by one party over another. Our counsellors can help you to make a plan to keep you and your family safe, and get in contact with relevant support services.

    The Orange Door:

    Safe Steps:

    In Touch:

    General Mental Health Issues

    If you feel like you are experiencing mental health difficulties that do not necessarily fit any of the above categories, feel free to reach out to the counsellors anyway. We may be able to provide support and resources to help you. Additionally, it is completely normal and common that you may be experiencing a few different issues at the same time. Counselling can help support you to understand your difficulties and explore options of managing them moving forward.

    Other Supports




    WIRE (Women’s support service)

    Directline (Alcohol & Drug support)

    Headspace (Youth mental health, aged 12 to 25)

    1800RESPECT (Sexual assault & domestic violence support)

    Sexual Assault Crisis Line

    Victorian Legal Aid

    SANE Australia (Mental health and carers)

    ARAFMI (Carers of people with psychosocial disability or mental illness)

    Last modified: Wednesday, 20 January 2021, 10:05 AM