Seeking Help

Seeking Help

Seeking help early is one of the most effective ways of preventing the development of more serious symptoms that can negatively impact your day to day life.

Although many assume that help seeking is an easy option to prevent poor mental health, there can be a lot of stigma and anxiety surrounding help seeking from both loved ones and professionals.

If you or a loved one needs immediate assistance please call emergency services (000) or Lifeline (13 11 14) for 24/7 support.

You can also contact a Monash Counsellor for free if you want someone to talk to (Australia: 1300 788 336 , Malaysia: 1800 818 356 , Anywhere else: +61 2 8295 2917).

Online webchat options are available from Beyond Blue, Qlife (LGBTIQ) or Mensline if you feel more comfortable talking over message.

Seeking help is not the easiest when you are going through a rough time, but also supporting a loved one who is hurting also can be tough. Since we more often turn to our friends and family when we seek out help, it is important to know how to support each other in our times of need as well as knowing how to reach out about our own circumstances.

Stigma is still a big part of everyone's understanding of what mental health is and what is involved in seeking help.

We found in our student THRIVE surveys:

28% of students think that others would think less of someone who has sought mental health assistance but only 6.5% would think less of someone who had sought mental health assistancewe also found that 22% would be worried that others would find out if they sought help from a mental health provide and 23% of students would be worried that others would judege them in our Thrive Surveys

Although this is not the majority of students, that is still nearly one in four students that are showing concerns of stigma in the community against mental health help seeking.

Myth Busting

There are many misconceptions about help seeking that can make people hesitant to reach out when they may need support. We'll bust some of these myths here:

MythFact

"I'm just stressed. I'll snap out of it."

Although in some cases it be momentary stress due to assignments, seeking help can allow you to develop your coping techniques and improve productivity and overall well-being.

Those developed techniques would equip you with the appropriate strategies to overcome any other struggles you may face in the future.

"Only people with a diagnosed mental health conditions need help."

Although you may not be diagnosed with a mental health condition, this doesn't mean that seeking help won't help you.

Seeking help early if you are experiencing poor mental health would provide you with effective coping mechanisms that will aid in your struggles and decrease the likelihood of developing a mental health condition.

"If I seek help, I'll be seen as 'insane' or 'weak'."

Experiencing poor mental health is a normal part of life.

Recognising you need help and taking the steps to seek it requires strength and prioritising yourself

"Professionals won't understand what I'm going through."

Mental health professionals are here to listen to you and try to understand what you are going through.

Psychologists on campus have worked with countless students so have valuable experience on how to help.

"I'm doing well academically so I must be okay."

Although you may be excelling academically, it does not mean that you are not struggling mentally. You do not have to be at a breaking point to seek help.

Seeking help early would provide you with techniques to improve your focus, mental health and coping strategies.

Seeking help doesn’t always mean seeking a psychologist or a doctor. Sometimes it can help just to talk to a friend or significant other about your concerns.

Seeking help from a friend or family member:

Identify a friend that you trust and that you feel would be the most comfortable talking about what is concerning you.

Before asking for help it might be helpful to create a list of the things that are concerning you or that you would like to bring up when talking to a friend.
 
 It might be useful to let the friend know that you want to talk about something serious. Let the friend know that they don’t have to know everything and they don’t need to take sides, you just need to talk through something with them.

Just remember that they might not know what to do and they might not want to talk about some things with you and that's okay, you might need to find someone else to talk to.

Just keep in mind that not wanting to talk doesn’t mean that they don’t care about you, they might be struggling too or just don’t think they can help.

Seeking help from a professional:

 

As a Monash student you have access to the Monash free counselling services available through the University. These services are provided by qualified psychologists and do not require a referral.

Monash Counselling is also completely confidential and no one aside from yourself and your psychologist will know what you are talking about or that you are using the services.

If you would prefer not to seek help through Monash you can book an appointment with your GP, it is often best to book a long or double appointment, and discuss with them setting up a Mental Health Plan.

This plan will mean you can access free psychologist services from a community provider. Check here for how many free sessions you will have access to per year.

Want to hear more about reaching out to professionals? Our student team runs through the process and breaks down myths (eg. if you need a diagnosis to seek support)  in this video...

Other options

If you aren’t sure you need to see a professional but don’t want to talk to a friend or family member there are some online confidential options you can use like Beyond Blue WebChat, Qlife (LGBTIQ) or Mensline

How are other students seeking help?

Overwhelmingly in our THRIVE surveys, we found that students were most likely to seek help from a friend, significant other, or family member, and less likely to seek help from mental health professionals or online support.

These results show that for the most part it is our loved ones that are our first point of contact when we need help and so it is important that we all know both how to ask for help and how to provide help if they come to us for support.

We also need to understand the stigma surrounding help seeking and how we can best break this stigma down so more students are seeking help early.

Knowing where to seek help and doing it early is important to cope with and overcome the challenges you will experience throughout Uni.  Our team talks more about it in this video...

You might have a friend or family member come to you wanting to discuss their mental health and some issues they are experiencing that are negatively impacting their wellbeing. It might seem overwhelming and a high pressure situation but there are some things you can do to support them.

 You are not expected to know everything, provide solutions or step in as a counsellor. In most cases all you need to do is listen and spend time with the person who is asking for help. Sometimes it can help to gently suggest seeking help from a professional if you think it would be helpful.

Learning about mental health and wellbeing, such as some of the warning signs for things like depression and anxiety, can be a good way to equip yourself with knowledge that can help you recognise poor wellbeing within yourself, and with others.

Check out our Mental health page for more.

 
 

Active listening is a great method of making someone feel heard and understood and is a skill that will also help you in other aspects of your life. To active listen you:

  1. Remaining neutral and non-judgmental
  2. Show them you are listening with eye contact and little acknowledgments of what they are saying (like nodding your head or summarising what they’re talking about).
  3. Ask questions if you are not sure about anything, it shows the speaker that you are making an effort to understand.

MSA Welfare has developed Better Friends Training, a peer-designed and led program, that aims to strengthen the capacity of students to both normalise and have more conversations around mental health.

This training was developed by students in leadership roles, with oversight from Monash Counselling and Respectful Communities. In conversations with the THRIVE team, the 2020 student survey results illuminated that students were far more likely to confide in friends when they needed mental health support, rather than professionals. At the same time, the friends they were confiding in were not sure or didn't have the skills to properly support them.

The training is to bridge the gap between students wanting to seek mental health support from their peers, and their peers wanting to be 'better friends'. Sessions are being delivered online and via Zoom. Students can book in to attend the training via the health and wellbeing events booking system.

Stigma is still a big part of everyone's understanding of what mental health is and what is involved in seeking help.

We found in our student THRIVE surveys:

28% of students think that others would think less of someone who has sought mental health assistance but only 6.5% would think less of someone who had sought mental health assistancewe also found that 22% would be worried that others would find out if they sought help from a mental health provide and 23% of students would be worried that others would judege them in our Thrive Surveys

Although this is not the majority of students, that is still nearly one in four students that are showing concerns of stigma in the community against mental health help seeking.

Myth Busting

There are many misconceptions about help seeking that can make people hesitant to reach out when they may need support. We'll bust some of these myths here:

MythFact

"I'm just stressed. I'll snap out of it."

Although in some cases it be momentary stress due to assignments, seeking help can allow you to develop your coping techniques and improve productivity and overall well-being.

Those developed techniques would equip you with the appropriate strategies to overcome any other struggles you may face in the future.

"Only people with mental health conditions need help."

Although you may not have a mental health condition, this doesn't mean you have good mental health.

Seeking help early or if you are experiencing poor mental health would provide you with effective coping mechanisms that will aid in your struggles and decrease the likelihood of developing a mental health condition.

"If I seek help, I'll be seen as 'insane' or 'weak'."

Experiencing poor mental health is a normal part of life.

Recognising you need help and taking the steps to seek it requires strength and prioritising yourself

"Professionals won't understand what I'm going through."

Mental health professionals are here to listen to you and try to understand what you are going through.

Psychologists on campus have worked with countless students so have valuable experience on how to help.

"I'm doing well academically so I must be okay."

Although you may be excelling academically, it does not mean that you are not struggling mentally. You do not have to be at a breaking point to seek help.

Seeking help early would provide you with techniques to improve your focus, mental health and coping strategies.