Equality & Diversity

Like the community at large, university students are a diverse population. Universities are committed to providing access to education for everyone through a range of support services, including assistance for students from rural, regional and isolated areas, access support for students with disabilities, Indigenous student support centres, assistance for students from nonEnglish speaking backgrounds and programs for women studying in areas traditionally dominated by males.

Universities provide a range of on-site health and support services and will also provide you with information on local services that offer support for your specific needs. A lot of these services are free for students

If you have a health or emotional concern or question, seek support from your family and friends and your uni’s student services centre. Your physical and emotional health is important and will have a big impact on your ability to enjoy and make the most of uni life.

Bulk Billing

Using your Medicare card at a health service that bulk bills allows you to obtain free or cheaper treatment, because the government pays the health provider directly. When you move out of home it’s a good idea to apply for your own Medicare card by visiting your local Medicare office or applying online at www. humanservices.gov.au.

To find health services that bulk bill, go to www.1800bulkbill. com.au or call 1800 285 524.

Your dental health is just as important as other aspects of your overall health so don’t forget to go for a regular check-up. Your uni health service can help you find a dentist and let you know what is covered by Medicare and what you will need to pay for. Check with your parents to see what dental cover you can get through your family’s health insurance.

Universities are big places! You will get a map in O-Week – hang on to it! If you are having difficulty finding your way around the Lost on Campus app has your back. It contains maps and directions for 42 Australian campuses. Your university might even have their own app so be sure to ask the question.

You’ll also need to find your way around your institution’s online space. Universities have internal student websites you can log in to to access your subjects, resources and notices from your tutors and lecturers. This is going to be a really important space for you to keep up to date with your study and course requirements, so make sure you can access any internal sites.

Health Insurance

Medicare does not cover ambulance services, so if you are not covered under your family’s health insurance policy (get your parents to check with their insurance provider), consider taking out your own ambulance cover.

Students can obtain ambulance cover for around $50 a year and it’s an investment you won’t regret. Ambulance transport and treatment could cost hundreds, or even thousands of dollars if you need an air ambulance. It’s not something you want to add to your worries in an emergency.

Mental Health & Emotional Support

There are a variety of services available to assist with your mental wellbeing. Your uni will have support services, or online and phone support services might better suit your needs.

"Never be afraid to ASK… no matter what problems you are facing, remember there is plenty of help available, whether it be academic support, mental health services or everyday life advice."

NapCHarles Sturt University

"Don’t pack too much – just the basics; you won’t need about half of it."

LatishaUniversity of Wollongong

Mental Health and Wellbeing Services

Headspace is the National Youth Mental Health Foundation assistsing young people aged 12–25 years. They have 55 centres across Australia and offer free services in areas such as general health, education and employment, mental health, alcohol and drugs. Call 1800 650 890.

The Black Dog Institute and My Compass are interactive, self-help websites which enable users to track and write about their moods, view information and tips on how to manage mild to moderate stress, anxiety and depression.

Lifeline provides 24/7 crisis support and suicide prevention services. Call them on 13 11 14.

Youthbeyondblue provides information and support for those affected by depression and anxiety. It’s also a great resource for carers or anyone wanting to support a friend or loved one. You can call them 24 hours a day on 1300 22 4636.

Sane Australia aims to help Australians affected by mental illness to lead a better life. Call the helpline on 1800 187 263.

Kids Helpline is Australia’s only free, private and confidential, telephone and online counselling service specifically for young people aged between five and 25. Call 1800 55 1800.

MoodGYM is an innovative, interactive web program designed to help people cope with depression. Sign up online.

The Suicide Call Back Service is a 24/7, nationwide service that provides counselling to people 15 years and over who are suicidal, caring or supporting someone suicidal or bereaved by suicide. Call 1300 659 467.

Counselling & Support

Counselling services can help with a range of academic or personal concerns.
All universities have information on counselling services, many of which are free. We recommend you contact your uni’s student services centre to find out what they offer.

Make sure you talk to your lecturers or tutors if you are feeling overwhelmed and need extra time and support to get your assignments done. You don’t need to share all your personal details, but if you are having trouble submitting work or attending classes, it might be better if they know what’s going on. It’s also advisable to talk to your tutors and lecturers early so they can allow for your needs.

Stress Management

Life is all about balance, and even though you will need to study and work hard at university, you also need some downtime. Downtime is productive as it helps your brain and body work better by giving it a rest and time to absorb things.

Try going for a walk, watching a movie, joining a sports team or reading for pleasure. Close the laptop, put down your phone and give your mind a rest. You’ll be surprised that some of your most creative ideas can occur when you give yourself a break.

Stress management is different for everyone so find out what works for you, and if you need help doing this, never be afraid to ask friends or a counsellor.

Exercise helps you maintain your health and boosts your endorphin levels. Walk, swim, do yoga or take a class at the gym.

Your university or local gym will have student discounts. Take a gym for a road test before you commit with a short-term or casual pass. Make sure you understand the gym membership’s terms and conditions when you sign up so you only pay for what you want and don’t get locked into a long contract.

University is a great place to meet new people and forge new friendships. Join a sporting team or a university club, maybe a drama club or even a chocolate appreciation society. Getting involved gives you something else to think about and focus your attention on, other than just study.

Orientation Week is a great way to see what’s on offer. You might also want to get involved in the wider community by joining an environmental group or a community support organisation.

Humans are social animals. Talking to people is good for us, especially if we are feeling sad, stressed, anxious, uneasy or depressed. You’re not alone, so call your family, have coffee with a friend, or see a counsellor if you’d prefer to talk anonymously or think you need professional help.

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Eating or Sleeping

Food and rest are both very important. Even for the seemingly invincible and highly social!

Maintaining a healthy diet will help you balance study and play. Limit your caffeine and sugar and make sure you are eating enough fresh fruit and vegetables (fruit flavoured lollies don’t count as fruit!). Don’t overdo the alcohol and avoid cigarettes and drugs. All these things affect your moods and abilities.

Get enough sleep. Feeling tired increases stress, anger and frustration levels. Being tired and stressed also lowers your immunity levels and can lead to illness.

Here’s a few tips for sleeping better:

  1. Turn your computer and other electronics off before you go to bed and switch your phone to night mode or “do not disturb” so your sleep isn’t interrupted by alerts.
  2. Avoid looking at screens and devices while trying to get to sleep. Light actually blocks melatonin, which is the hormone that helps you fall asleep.
  3. Limit caffeine in the afternoon and evenings.
  4. Exercise daily.

Safe Fun

Everyone has ups and downs in life – it’s how you handle what life throws at you that will shape the person you become.

"Don’t feel stupid if you don’t like what everyone else pretends to love."

Emma Watson

Sexual Health

Your sexual health is an important part of your overall health if you are sexually active. If you are participating in sexual activity you need to know how to protect yourself from sexually transmitted infections and unwanted pregnancy. You can visit student services to talk to a sexual health worker and visit www.sti.health.gov.au for more information.


Knowing what consent is and why it’s important is crucial to any sexual relationship. Consent is when two people both agree to enter into a sexual relationship or act. No one can force you to do anything you don’t want to do and you can’t force anyone else to do something they are uncomfortable with. Go to www.reachout.com for more information about consent.

Drinking & Substance abuse

Headspace provides some great information on alcohol as well as other drugs. Alcohol affects everyone differently so it’s important for you to find your limits and become aware of how you act when you have been consuming alcohol. One way to monitor your drinking is to know the standard measurement guide. This will allow you to make informed choices about what and how much you can drink.

You should be aware that illicit drugs are illegal to consume, provide, sell or buy. It’s never a good idea to take something when you don’t really know what’s in it. Illicit drugs can be mixed with dangerous chemicals that can kill you.

Peer Pressure

Peer pressure is when you feel you have to do something because everyone else is, or because friends tell you to. It can apply to drinking, drugs, sex or any other behaviour. Peer pressure can be hard to deal with because you don’t want to feel left out, but if something doesn’t feel right you should listen to yourself first and say no. True friends will respect your decisions.

Kids help line (advice for 16-25 year olds) is a great resource if you need some advice on peer pressure. You can call them on 1800 55 1800 any time of the day.
Top tips from students about how to have safe fun:

  1. Never walk home from a night out by yourself! Make sure you have a safe method of getting home, which may mean budgeting enough money for a taxi.
  2. Shouting drinks can become expensive and be unsafe. Keep track of your own drinks.
  3. Drink spiking occurs when a drug is covertly put into someone’s drink. If you start to feel light headed or sick tell your friends immediately. And never leave your drink unattended.
  4. When driving the day after a big night, remember you could still be over the legal limit, particularly if you are a P-plater.
  5. Have a buddy system, particularly in O-Week. You will gain a close friend and stay safe.

Keep $100 tucked away in your wallet or bank for emergency money.

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