Need urgent help right now?
If your life is in danger, call emergency services 000.
You are not alone. There is always someone to hear your pain and problems, and to help you keep safe.
If you need immediate support call one of the following numbers (available 24/7)
- Lifeline Australia – 13 11 14
- Lifeline New Zealand – 0800 543 354
- Kids Helpline – 1800 55 1800
- MensLine Australia – 1300 78 99 78
- Suicide Call Back Service – 1300 659 467
- Beyond Blue – 1300 22 4636
COVID-19 Update: all of these supports are still available, all are available online, be it emailing your student reps or Sub-Deans/other staff members or telehealth services with health professionals.
If you are feeling more down than usual, don’t enjoy things you normally do, have been feeling particularly anxious or nervous, know that you are not alone.
Try talking to friends or family and make some time for self-care: you will know best what works for you. Go out for a walk or try get yourself a nice meal - there is a lot of evidence for exercise, good nutrition and mindfulness/meditation in improving mental wellbeing.
If these aren’t helping, you could consider professional help. You do not have to fit DSM criteria to be ‘allowed’ to seek help - everyone has the right to some extra support. There are lots of people that you can talk to:
- Your Sub-Dean
Each cohort has a Sub-Dean responsible for the pastoral care of students. They are a great place to start for students feeling lost, struggling with the academics and the non-academic side of Medical School, and/or just looking for some additional support. They are able to direct you to further service both within and outside of UWA, and are your advocate whenever liaising with other staff members.
- Year 1 Sub-Dean: Dr Zaza Lyons
- Year 2 Sub-Dean: Dr Jacquie Frayne
- Year 3 Sub-Dean: A/Prof Lexie Tregonning
- Year 4 Sub-Dean: Dr Andrew Ford
- Your GP
Everyone should have a GP. Maybe this can convince you. If appropriate, they can write you up a Mental Health Care Plan to link you with psychological/other allied health services.
If you don’t have a GP, try:
- UWA Medical Centre on main campus
Not only are they close by, they also do bulk billing. The staff are also familiar with the university system, so they can help you more effectively. You can usually get an appointment within a couple of days. More information and book your appointment online here: https://www.uwa.edu.au/students/need-help/medical-centre
- Doctors Health Advisory Service (WA) Doctors For Doctors
This is a list of GPs (and psychiatrists) who have expressed an interest in doctors’ (and medical students’) health: http://www.dhaswa.com.au/drs-for-drs/
- UWA Medical Centre on main campus
- UWA Counselling and Psychological Services
UWA also offers up to six counselling services to students per calendar year - this could be a great place to start in just sorting out your thoughts and regaining a sense of control in your mind. They can also help justifying Special Consideration applications.
This is located at Student Services on the UWA main campus. You will first need a ‘triage’ session so they have a better idea of how they can help you, and then you will be able to book in for your six sessions as required. You can make appointments by phone (6488 2423) or by visiting the Counselling services building. For more information, see here: http://www.student.uwa.edu.au/experience/health/counselling
Life hacks: If you think you might potentially maybe sometime in the future want to use this service, you are more than welcome to go for a triage session so that you have your six sessions up your sleeve, ready to go whenever you need them.
- Guild Student Assist
Student Assist are a team of Social Workers and a Wellbeing Counsellors employed by the UWA Student Guild who assist students with any academic, welfare and financial issues they may encounter.
You can also read more about UWA Student Support here: https://www.uwa.edu.au/students/need-help/care-and-support
Other people within UWA community who may be able to help
- Unit Coordinator: they will be able to help with any course-related issues that may arise. (Be reassured that they are also very understanding about student-wellbeing issues too! Many have been in the Medical School for a long time and work closely with students and Sub-Deans.)
- Your Year Representatives, WAMSS Mental Health: We are your fellow students and are not trained mental health professionals/counsellors/psychologists, however, if there is a course-related factor that is impacting on your mental health, let us know! Chances are it is affecting other students as well. We are here to represent you.
- Your mentor: your mentor has volunteered to be in the program as they have an interest in helping medical students grow and adapt to the challenges of medicine. They have a wealth of experience - make use of it!
- UWA Chaplain and Spiritual Services
- The University is committed to supporting students and staff with a diversity of cultural, religious and non-religious backgrounds and promotes interfaith conversation and collaboration wherever possible.
- Religious denominations provide the Chaplains/Priests/Imam who help to fulfil that commitment. And there are many other supportive and spiritually respectful persons and groups around the University.
Want to talk to someone but none of the people above seem to fit?
- Doctors’ Health Advisory Service: Colleague of First Contact
- (08) 9321 3098
- For Doctors in crisis, or not sure where to go for help with personal or health problems.
- This totally confidential 24-hr service is available to all Doctors and Medical Students. It can be contacted by the person themselves, or by a concerned family member, friend, colleague or staff member. Callers do not need to identify themselves. It consists of a group of experienced male and female GPs, and is independent, reporting back to no other medical organisation.
- Problems dealt with include stress, depression, suicidal thought, substance abuse, grief or concerns about illness. Sometimes the contact can be about impaired performance in a colleague. The Doctors do not usually provide active medical treatment, their main function being to go through the options with callers when they are faced with a dilemma, or to advise the caller on the most appropriate referral services.
- Offers phone, online chat, email and online forums
- See here for more information
- Counselling help lines as listed above
For those looking for more information, resources, looking to learn more about mental health.
- Doctors Health Advisory Service WA (DHASWA)
- AMSA Mental Health
- Their website has lots of useful resources and stories.
- In particular, their resource Keeping Your Grass Greener is really worth a read, either for yourself or to be prepared in helping your friends. This used to be compulsory reading for first year medical students, with obligatory reflection for our portfolio after. Based on student feedback, the portfolio has since been streamlined and this compulsory reflection was removed but we still highly recommend this resource.
- The National Youth Mental Health Foundation, aimed at helping young people (aged 12 – 25) who are going through a tough time. Find interesting and useful fact sheets and workshops through eHeadspace, as well as being able to chat online with a qualified youth mental health professional
- Black Dog Institute
- An educational, research, clinical and community-oriented institute providing information on the diagnosis, treatment and prevention of mood disorders
- Online youth mental health service providing information, stories, videos, forums and tools to help young people with everyday questions and cope through tough times.
- AMA Doctors’ Health
- Resources, tools and information on doctors’ health and wellbeing. Especially useful for practical advice on how to overcome the stressors of the profession.
- Medical Board of Australia
- The Medical Board of Australia registers medical practitioners and medical students, develops standards, codes and guidelines for the medical profession and investigates notifications and complaints where necessary.
- They have made a useful information sheet on the Management of Impaired Practitioners
Online mental health tools and apps (work in progress)
- Smiling Mind: free mindfulness meditation app
- OnTrack: supporting the journey to health and wellbeing by offering free access to online programs, information, quizzes and advice